STATEHOUSE (July 1, 2020) – With many new laws effective this month, State Rep. Alan Morrison (R-Brazil) said several important changes support Hoosier workers and elections.
"Our focus during this year's legislative session was to improve transparency on health care costs and reduce some of the requirements on our educators," Morrison said. "I also worked on laws to protect our state's workforce and to increase voter turnout in municipal elections."
Here's a look at notable new laws Morrison said Hoosiers should know about:
Morrison authored House Enrolled Act 1143 to protect Hoosier workers from having microchip devices implanted in them as a basis for employment. In other states, some employers microchip employees voluntarily with a rice-sized chip between the thumb and forefinger, which can serve as a badge to access buildings and computers, but it also creates an avenue for personal data to be abused.
Municipal elections are held in odd-numbered years, separate from national and statewide races that often attract more voters. To increase voter turnout and cut the costs of holding elections annually, Morrison authored House Enrolled Act 1147 permitting cities and towns with populations of 3,500 or less to adopt an ordinance combining their local elections with state and national races.
Teachers, Students and Schools
Morrison 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.
Morrison 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 Morrison 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. Morrison 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. Alan Morrison (R-Brazil) represents House District 42,
which includes all of Vermillion County and portions of Clay,
Fountain, Parke, Vigo and Warren counties.
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