INDIANAPOLIS | Hoosiers soon may be forced to pay a "convenience fee" when using a credit or debit card to pay municipal or utility charges under a new law signed by Republican Gov. Mike Pence.
House Enrolled Act 1145, sponsored by state Rep. Mara Candelaria Reardon, D-Munster, allows local governments and government-owned utilities to charge up to $3 for the convenience of accepting credit or bank cards.
That's on top of the credit card charge those entities can already collect to recover the bank fees they pay on each transaction. The new law authorizes the extra convenience fee, even though most credit card agreements prohibit it.
The pay-to-pay law was among 25 new laws Pence signed late Monday night. He allowed House Enrolled Act 1070, permitting Fishers and Cloverdale to impose a 1 percent food and beverage tax, to become law without his signature.
Overall, Pence has enacted 119 laws approved by the Republican-controlled General Assembly and vetoed none.
Other laws signed Monday that were primarily sponsored by Northwest Indiana legislators include:
• License plates: House Enrolled Act 1279 tasks a legislative committee with reviewing applications for special group license plates and requires organizations with plates to disclose their financial records. Groups also must sell 500 new or renewal plates a year to keep their license plate. The law was sponsored by state Rep. Ed Soliday, R-Valparaiso; and state Sens. Jim Arnold, D-LaPorte, and Sue Landske, R-Cedar Lake.
• Transcripts: House Enrolled Act 1341 directs the Indiana Department of Education to develop a standard transcript high school students can electronically submit to state colleges and universities. It was sponsored by state Reps. Vernon Smith, D-Gary, and Tom Dermody, R-LaPorte; and state Sen. Lonnie Randolph, D-East Chicago.
• Emergency medicine: House Enrolled Act 1486, sponsored by Randolph and state Rep. Chuck Moseley, D-Portage, requires an emergency medical service provider license be issued to any veteran whose military skills are substantially similar to a paramedic or emergency medical technician, without requiring additional classes or testing.
• Government retirees: House Enrolled Act 1080 provides an extra one-time pension payment of up to $400 to most retired state and local government employees, including teachers. The law was sponsored by Soliday, Landske, Randolph, and state Sens. Karen Tallian, D-Ogden Dunes, and Ed Charbonneau, R-Valparaiso.
• Secret meetings: House Enrolled Act 1102, sponsored by Candelaria Reardon and Randolph, permits local governments and the boards of public agencies to meet privately when discussing any litigation matters, including administrative rule violations, and during labor negotiations.
• Confidential addresses: House Enrolled Act 1219, sponsored by state Rep. Linda Lawson, D-Hammond, allows police officers, judges and victims of domestic violence to ask local governments restrict disclosure of their home addresses on any public property database website.
• Veterans courts: House Enrolled Act 1016, sponsored by Candelaria Reardon, Randolph and state Sen. Frank Mrvan, D-Hammond, urges lawmakers study how to fund new problem-solving courts focused on military veterans.