STATEHOUSE (July 21, 2020) – Many new laws took effect July 1 and State Rep. Holli Sullivan (R-Evansville) said several important changes support Hoosier teachers, patients and drivers.
"From helping our teachers in the classroom to curbing health care costs and making our roads safer, several new laws effective this month will have an impact on Hoosiers," Sullivan said. "These are just a few to be aware of, and what they could mean for those in our community."
Here's a look at notable new laws Sullivan said Hoosiers should know about:
Teachers, Students and Schools
Sullivan 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.
Sullivan 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 Sullivan said a new HIPAA-compliant database of all health insurance claims will empower consumers by providing information about cost and quality.
Sullivan said Hoosiers need to be aware that cell phones and other electronic devices also need to be put down when driving, unless calling 911. Using hands-free and voice-operated technology like Bluetooth and speakerphone, and having phones mounted on a window or dashboard is still allowed. As chair of the House Committee on Roads and Transportation, Sullivan authored House Enrolled Act 1070. She said those in violation face a Class C driving infraction, and those ticketed before July 1, 2021, will not receive points on their license as drivers use this period to adjust to the new restriction.
"The driving force behind passing Indiana's new hands-free law is the role cell phones play in the growing number of injuries and deaths involving distracted driving," Sullivan said. "Just as we put our seatbelts on when we get in the car, activating hands-free mode on our phones is a habit that can save lives on the road."
For more information on these and other new laws effective this month, visit iga.in.gov.
State Rep. Holli Sullivan (R-Evansville) represents House District 78,
which includes portions of Vanderburgh and Warrick counties.
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