NEWS-SENTINEL EDITORIAL: Some new Indiana laws just took effect on New Year’s Day
The 2019 Indiana General Assembly passed hundreds of new laws, signed by Gov. Eric Holcomb, most of which took effect on July 1. But there are also a few that became effective Wednesday to start the new year.
The laws enacted last summer received the most attention, among them:
* Senate Enrolled Act 198 (Public Law 5) — Includes a hate crimes measure with explicit victim protections for color, creed, disability, national origin, race, religion and sexual orientation, but does not include protections for age, gender and gender identity.
* Senate Enrolled Act 1284 (Public Law 107) — Provides immunity for justified uses of force when a person reasonably believes it is necessary to prevent serious injury, or to immediately stop or prevent a forcible felony.
* Senate Enrolled Act 132 (Public Law 97) — Requires students to take the civics test administered by the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services to new citizens as part of the U.S. government course required in high school.
* House Enrolled Act 1015 (Public Law 293) — Allowed facilities to seek licenses for sports betting as of July 1. Sports wagering then became legal both online, in-person and at approved gambling facilities in Indiana for those 21 and older beginning in September.
Here are some of the more notable among other laws that just took effect on New Year’s Day, as pointed out by the News and Tribune of Jeffersonville and New Albany:
* Senate Enrolled Act 405 (Public Law 34) — Enacted in time for this critical election year, the law allows the Indiana secretary of state to choose counties to participate in a risk-limiting audit to ensure the implementation of election protocols such as the proper use of voter registration and other forms, compliance with state and federal requirements, and proper use and operation of electronic poll books, absentee and provisional ballots. The law’s intention is to “limit to acceptable levels the risk of certifying a preliminary election outcome that constitutes an incorrect outcome.”
* House Enrolled Act 1628 (Public Law 268) — Makes clarifications to the pre-kindergarten test pilot program, expanding its definitions of an eligible and limited-eligibility child, stipulating the child must be between 4 and 5 years old and live in Indiana. It provides that up to 20 percent of the grants provided may be used to provide grants to limited eligibility children and that, “during the priority enrollment period, the office of the secretary of family and social services shall provide grants to eligible children in the program on a first-come, first-served basis.” It also provides that a limited eligibility child may qualify for the grant if the child resides with a parent or guardian who receives Social Security Disability Insurance or Supplemental Security Income benefits.
* Senate Enrolled Act 563 (Public Law 158) — Establishes the Indiana Small Business Innovation Voucher Program, which allows funding for small businesses to partner with accredited colleges, universities or other institutions of higher education on research systems to improve innovation within the business, which could include research and development, technology exploration, technical development, product development and commercialization intended to foster innovation in an eligible small business. For a business to be eligible, it must do most business within Indiana, have 150 or fewer employees and go through an application process.
* House Enrolled Act 1053 (Public Law 234) — Beginning Jan. 1, all disabled veterans’ Indiana license plates should read “Disabled Hoosier Veteran” at the bottom, with a wheelchair symbol indicating that the person has a disability. An emblem of the branch of service the veteran served in will also adorn the plate.