STATEHOUSE (July 13, 2020) – With many new laws effective this month, State Rep. Beau Baird (R-Greencastle) said several important changes support Hoosier teachers, patients and farmers.
"Along with strengthening continuing education for teachers and decoupling student test scores from their performance evaluations, this year the legislature focused on making health care costs transparent and easier to understand, and providing additional help for our agriculture industry," Baird said. "These new laws are widely supported and beneficial to everyone."
Here's a look at notable new laws Baird said Hoosiers should know about:
Teachers, Students and Schools
Baird said as part of House Enrolled Act 1002, standardized test scores will no longer be required to be a part of teacher performance evaluations. He said this should reduce the pressure educators often feel to teach to the test and, as a result, make teaching more attractive as a career. To help cut red tape, House Enrolled Act 1003 went into effect earlier this year to allow the State Board of Education to streamline the timing and frequency of required teacher trainings and grant waivers for schools to bypass over 1,500 regulations. As Indiana continues to transition to the new ILEARN exam, lawmakers passed Senate Enrolled Act 2 so that school accountability grades cannot be negatively impacted by student scores for two years.
Baird said House Enrolled Act 1283 supports students with mental health issues, including those involved in bullying, and experiencing behavioral problems or physical illnesses. The new law ensures aspiring educators receive training on best practices to recognize students' behavioral reactions to trauma so they can address these issues in their classrooms with increased understanding and insight.
Under House Enrolled Act 1004, Baird said patients will be protected from receiving surprise medical bills from out-of-network providers, and, in the case of an elective procedure, the patient will have the right to receive an upfront, good-faith estimate of expected charges. In addition, Senate Enrolled Act 5 requires hospitals, outpatient surgery centers and urgent care clinics to publish their average prices online, and Baird said a new HIPAA-compliant database of all health insurance claims will empower consumers by providing information about cost and quality.
Farmers and Rural Communities
Senate Enrolled Act 184 allows the Indiana Farm Bureau to offer a health benefits plan to its members. Baird, who serves on the Agriculture and Natural Resources Committee, said this plan is not health insurance, but would provide similar benefits to help many farmers who have limited access to affordable health care options. Other states, such as Kansas and Tennessee, have implemented similar programs through their Farm Bureaus.
To support rural communities, House Enrolled Act 1370 allows cities and towns to band together and enter into regional land banks to acquire tax-delinquent and blighted properties to restore them.
For more information on these and other new laws effective July 1, visit iga.in.gov.
State Rep. Beau Baird (R-Greencastle) represents House District 44, which includes
all of Putnam County and portions of Clay, Morgan, Owen and Parke counties.
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