STATEHOUSE (July 1, 2020) – With many new laws effective this month, State Rep. Tom Saunders (R-Lewisville) said several important changes support Hoosier teachers, patients and farmers.
"This month, many new laws took effect to improve different aspects of our state," Saunders said. "One important issue we tackled this year was health care costs. Under a new law, Hoosiers will now be able to compare prices of outpatient procedures from different hospitals and facilities. This transparency should help patients make more informed decisions about their care and shop around for the best prices."
Here's a look at notable new laws Saunders said Hoosiers should know about:
Teachers, Students and Schools
Saunders 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.
Saunders 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 Saunders 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. Saunders 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. Tom Saunders (R-Lewisville) represents House District 54,
which includes Henry County and portions of Rush and Wayne counties.
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