STATEHOUSE (July 1, 2020) – With many new laws effective this month, State Rep. Sean Eberhart (R-Shelbyville) said several important changes support Hoosier teachers, patients and farmers.
"Among the many new laws dealing with a variety of issues is one I believe will help a lot of people in our community as the Farm Bureau begins to offer health benefits to it members," Eberhart said. "Often, health benefits are obtained through employers; however, many farmers are self-employed and priced out of traditional health insurance options. This new law is a viable solution, and it supports our valuable farmers and could prevent some from having to make the decision to leave the industry to obtain coverage or forego health care all together."
Here's a look at notable new laws Eberhart said Hoosiers should know about:
Teachers, Students and Schools
Eberhart 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.
Eberhart 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.
Senate Enrolled Act 5 requires hospitals, outpatient surgery centers and urgent care clinics to publish their average prices online, and Eberhart 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. Eberhart 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. Sean Eberhart (R-Shelbyville) represents House District 57,
which includes Shelby County and portions of Bartholomew and Hancock counties.
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