STATEHOUSE (July 3, 2020) – With many new laws effective this month, State Rep. Randy Frye (R-Greensburg) said several important changes support Hoosier public safety officers, schools, patients and farmers.
"Each year I look for ways to further support our state's strong public safety departments," said Frye, chair of the House Veterans Affairs and Public Safety Committee. "When we improve their benefits and the methods they use to protect our communities, we make Indiana a safer place for everyone."
Here's a look at notable new laws Frye said Hoosiers should know about:
Frye co-authored House Enrolled Act 1063 increasing the death benefits for firefighters and police officers from $150,000 to $225,000. He said public safety officers risk their lives to keep Hoosiers safe, and it is important to help ease some financial burdens families face during a loss.
House Enrolled Act 1151, co-authored by Frye, makes school resource officers eligible for special death benefits, like those provided to police officers. According to Frye, school resource officers are often from local police or sheriff’s departments and have completed all required law enforcement training. He said they put their lives on the line to protect our schools, and deserve this key benefit.
Frye authored House Enrolled Act 1346 to address jail overcrowding, which he said is costly and poses safety concerns. Effective earlier this year, the new law tasks a criminal justice workgroup with finding long-term solutions for overcrowding. Frye said data on jail populations will be shared among counties and the state to identify trends and implement programs.
Teachers, Students and Schools
Frye 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.
Frye 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, 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 Frye 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. Frye 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.
Frye said 98% of all laws passed received bipartisan support. For more information on these and other new laws effective July 1, visit iga.in.gov.
State Rep. Randy Frye (R-Greensburg) represents House District 67, which includes
all of Ohio and Switzerland counties, as well as portions of Dearborn,
Decatur, Jefferson, Jennings and Ripley counties.
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