STATEHOUSE (July 1, 2020) – With many new laws effective July 1, State Rep. Cindy Ziemke (R-Batesville) said several important changes support Hoosier teachers, patients and farmers.
"These new laws will benefit students, teachers and classrooms in our community and across the state," Ziemke said. "From helping students master their English and math skills, to addressing our students' wellbeing, our educators have a tremendous responsibility in shaping the next generation of Hoosiers. This continued support can help keep good teachers in our classrooms and pupils on the path to success."
According to Ziemke, 98% of the new laws enacted by the Indiana General Assembly during the 2020 legislative session passed with bipartisan support. Here is a look at notable new laws:
Teachers, Students and Schools
Ziemke 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.
Ziemke 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' reactions to trauma so they can address these issues in their classrooms with increased understanding and insight.
She said a student's overall health reaches beyond their physical wellness, and Senate Enrolled Act 246 helps ensure young Hoosiers who are struggling can access important resources and professional services as their schools contract with a licensed mental health provider.
With 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 Ziemke 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. Ziemke 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 taking effect July 1, visit iga.in.gov.
State Rep. Cindy Ziemke (R-Batesville) represents House District 55, which includes
all of Fayette County and portions of Decatur, Franklin, Ripley and Rush counties.
Click here to download a high-resolution photo of Ziemke.