STATEHOUSE (July 1, 2020) – With many new laws effective this month, State Rep. Peggy Mayfield (R-Martinsville) said several important changes support public safety officers, as well as Hoosier teachers, patients and farmers.
"I spent much of this year's legislative session working on laws that provide added benefits and safeguards for some of our frontline public safety officials," Mayfield said. "I also supported several laws that address Hoosiers' top concerns like teacher training requirements and health care costs. Many of these laws passed with bipartisan support."
Here's a look at notable new laws Mayfield said Hoosiers should know about:
Some foams used to fight fires contain chemicals that can accumulate in the air without breaking down, harming the environment and possibly causing cancer. To limit the use of these chemicals, Mayfield authored House Enrolled Act 1189 prohibiting these foams from being used during training events, and only allowing them to be used in testing if preventative measures are put in place to protect health and ensure safety.
School resource officers are often from local police or sheriff’s departments and have completed all required law enforcement training. They put their lives on the line to protect our schools, and through Mayfield's House Enrolled Act 1151, these professionals will be eligible for special death benefits, like those provided to police officers.
Teachers, Students and Schools
Mayfield 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, lawmakers passed Senate Enrolled Act 2 so that school accountability grades cannot be negatively impacted by student scores for two years.
Mayfield 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 Mayfield 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. Mayfield 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/legislative/2020/bills.
State Rep. Peggy Mayfield (R-Martinsville) represents House District 60,
which includes portions of Morgan and Monroe counties.
Click here for a high-resolution photo.