STATEHOUSE (July 21, 2020) – With many new laws effective this month, State Rep. Cindy Kirchhofer (R-Beech Grove) said several important changes support Hoosier teachers and patients.
"After hearing from our community, I worked on legislation to cut red tape for educators," Kirchhofer said. "Teachers are critical to the future success of young Hoosiers, and we need talented individuals to pursue this career and stay in the profession."
Here's a look at notable new laws Kirchhofer said Hoosiers should know about:
Teachers, Students and Schools
Kirchhofer said as part of House Enrolled Act 1002, standardized test scores will no longer be required to be a part of teacher performance evaluations. She 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, Kirchhofer sponsored Senate Enrolled Act 2 so that school accountability grades cannot be negatively impacted by student scores for two years.
Kirchhofer 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, Kirchhofer sponsored Senate Enrolled Act 5 requiring hospitals, outpatient surgery centers and urgent care clinics to publish their average prices online, and she said a new HIPAA-compliant database of all health insurance claims will empower consumers by providing information about cost and quality.
Kirchhofer also supported Senate Enrolled Act 241 to require pharmacy benefit managers, who serve as middlemen between pharmacies and insurance companies, to hold a license in Indiana and provide data to ensure they are operating fairly and transparently when negotiation prices and benefits. She said this increased transparency and accountability could save Hoosiers money on their prescriptions.
"Whether buying a prescription or preparing for an elective surgery, the cost of health care is top-of-mind for many Hoosiers," said Kirchhofer, chair of the House Public Health Committee. "We have taken steps to make health care more transparent overall and help individuals make informed decisions."
In response to a high number of Hoosier teens using e-cigarettes and tobacco products, Kirchhofer worked with Gov. Eric Holcomb to reduce teen smoking. She sponsored Senate Enrolled Act 1, which aligns Indiana to the new federal law raising the age to purchase tobacco from 18 to 21, including e-cigarettes and vaping products. Businesses that sell tobacco products to underage consumers will also face stiffer penalties.
For more information on these and other new laws, visit iga.in.gov.
State Rep. Cindy Kirchhofer (R-Beech Grove) represents House District 89,
which includes portions of Marion County.
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