Skip to main content
You are the owner of this article.
You have permission to edit this article.
Alcohol on golf courses, guns in churches and more: New Indiana laws take effect Monday
contributed urgent

Alcohol on golf courses, guns in churches and more: New Indiana laws take effect Monday

Indiana Statehouse

Indiana Statehouse

Gov. Eric Holcomb signed 293 new state laws approved by the Republican-controlled Indiana House and Senate during its annual legislative session, which ran between Jan. 3 and April 24.

While a few "emergency" laws, such as additional state funding for South Shore Line expansion projects, became law immediately, most of the new statutes enacted by the Republican chief executive take effect Monday.

Here's a look at notable new laws Hoosiers should know about:

Teacher pay — The state budget increases student tuition support by $539 million over the next two years, and makes a total of $753 million in new education funding available to Indiana schools. But decisions on whether to put that money toward teacher pay raises, as opposed to other needs, were left up to local school district leaders. (House Enrolled Act 1001)

Gaming — Gary's Majestic Star casinos are authorized to relocate from their Lake Michigan dock. One is allowed to move to a land-based site, likely adjacent to the Borman Expressway. A new casino also is permitted in Terre Haute, and Hoosier adults will be able to place bets on sporting events, including from mobile devices, possibly as soon as Sept. 1. (HEA 1015)

Bias crimes — It is an aggravating factor, for which a judge can impose more than the advisory prison term, if a crime is committed "with bias due to the victim's or the group's real or perceived characteristic, trait, belief, practice, association or other attribute the court chooses to consider." (Senate Enrolled Act 198)

Data center — Sales and business personal property tax incentives are available to enable the $40 million, 105,000-square-foot Digital Crossroads of America Data Center at the site of the former State Line Generating Plant in Hammond to grow into a $200 million campus with 400,000 square feet of lake-cooled data storage. (HEA 1405)

School buses — Criminal and civil penalties are increased for passing a school bus with its stop arm extended while children are boarding or departing the vehicle. School districts can request county or city governments to fund school bus cameras to nab perpetrators by using revenue generated from fines for stop arm violations committed by drivers. (SEA 2)

Flood prevention — A reconstituted Kankakee River Basin and Yellow River Basin Development Commission will have $3 million a year, starting in 2021, to spend on flood-control projects. The money would be generated by a new annual fee imposed on eight Northwest Indiana counties. The counties have the option of passing those fees along to owners of property located in the river basins. (HEA 1270)

State superintendent — A governor-appointed secretary of education will lead the Indiana Department of Education starting in 2021, instead of an elected state superintendent of public instruction. (HEA 1005)

Porter elections — Porter County election administration is reorganized on a bipartisan basis to prevent a repeat of last year's general election chaos that saw missing poll workers, nonexistent absentee ballot deliveries and no vote tallies for days after the polls closed. (HEA 1217)

Church guns — Any person legally authorized to carry a firearm may possess it in a church or religious building that's connected to a school, so long as the religious institution permits guns within its facilities. Similarly, a gun owner can bring his or her weapon into a school building when it's being used by a house of worship that allows guns. (HEA 1284)

Griffith — The town of Griffith gains an extra year, until November 2020, to complete its voter-approved exit from Calumet Township, by joining either North Township or St. John Township in Lake County. (HEA 1177)

School safety — County sheriffs and local school corporations can request grants from the Indiana Secured School Fund to set up active event warning systems modeled on Porter County's process. Porter uses a mobile phone application to alert all area on- and off-duty law enforcement at the local, state and federal levels in response to an active shooter or other emergency situation at a school. (HEA 1225)

Revenge porn — Any person who distributes intimate images online without consent from the subject of the images can be sentenced to up to a year in jail and may face a lawsuit for civil damages. (SEA 192, SEA 243)

Golf alcohol — Beer, wine and liquor, instead of only beer, can be sold from the back of golf carts roving across the links at public and private golf courses that hold the required alcohol sale permits. (HEA 1518)

Conscience protection — Nurses, pharmacists and physician assistants gain the same right as physicians, hospital employees and health clinic staffers to opt out of providing abortion care, including the provision of an abortion-inducing drug, if they have an ethical, moral or religious objection to abortion. (SEA 201)

Citizenship test — All Indiana high schools must administer to students, as part of the mandatory U.S. government course, the naturalization test that's typically taken by immigrants hoping to become American citizens. (SEA 132)

Exonerated inmates — A wrongfully incarcerated person can receive $50,000 for each year the person spent in the Indiana Department of Correction or a county jail for a conviction that was vacated based on actual innocence of the crime. (HEA 1150)

Safety referendum — School districts are authorized to hold a voter referendum on whether to hike property taxes by up to 10 cents per $100 of assessed valuation for up to an 8-year period to pay for school safety needs. (SEA 127)

Critical infrastructure — New felony crimes and a fine of up to $100,000 are established for damaging, trespassing upon or conspiring to harm facilities broadly defined as Indiana's "critical infrastructure," including steel mills and oil refineries. (SEA 471)

Pregnancy drug use — Medical providers are required to use a standard verbal screening tool to assess all pregnant women for substance use disorder throughout their pregnancies. Women found to be addicted to drugs must either be treated by the provider or referred elsewhere for drug abuse treatment. (HEA 1007)

Sex offenders — Individuals classified as "sexually violent predators" or "offenders against children" are barred from working as child-care providers, respite-care providers or at an adult day-care centers, as well as prohibited from living in home in which child-care services are provided. (SEA 258)

Newborn testing — Krabbe disease, Pompe disease and Hurler syndrome, starting July 1, 2020, are added to the 12 medical disorders for which Indiana infants are required to be tested as soon as possible following birth. (SEA 41)

Women's suffrage — A 17-member Indiana Women's Suffrage Centennial Commission is authorized to organize events and activities to explain the women's suffrage movement in the United States and commemorate the 100th anniversary of ratification of the 19th Amendment in 2020. (HEA 1394)

Drugs — Drug crimes committed within 100 feet of a drug treatment center, any location where drug recovery or support group meetings are held or inside a penal or juvenile detention facility can be enhanced one felony level by prosecutors, with a corresponding increase in potential prison time. (SEA 110, SEA 198)

Water infrastructure — A new water infrastructure assistance fund is permitted to leverage $20 million in state revenue to make loans and grants available to water utilities for new pipes, mains or leak controls. With timely repayments, the fund ultimately could produce more than $2 billion in water system fixes over 20 years. (HEA 1406)

Pets — Any person convicted of one of 13 animal abuse offenses — including animal mistreatment, animal fighting and bestiality — is prohibited from owning, harboring or training a dog or cat for the duration of their probation or parole. Rent-to-own agreements for purchasing pets are prohibited. (SEA 474, HEA 1447)

Health consent — A minor between ages 16 and 18 who is pregnant, in labor or postpartum can consent to pregnancy-related health care without the approval of a parent or guardian, so long as a reasonable effort is made to contact the child's parent or guardian. (HEA 1547)

Community service — Hoosiers convicted of crimes or traffic infractions who are unable to pay the $185 in court costs can reduce their tab by $7.25 per hour by performing court-ordered community service or uncompensated volunteer work. (HEA 1087)

Child services — The caseload limit for family case managers at the Department of Child Services is changed to: 12 initial assessments; 12 families receiving in-home services; or 13 children with out-of-home placements. DCS also gets two hours to respond to a child in imminent danger of serious bodily harm, instead of the prior, often unattainable, one-hour response mandate. (HEA 1006)

Corpse ID — Coroners officially can confirm the identity of a dead body by matching the serial number from a surgically implanted medical device, such as a pacemaker or breast enhancements, to the manufacturer's record of who received the device. (HEA 1100)

RDA funding — Every South Shore Line payment pledge made by Lake County and 15 of its municipalities is written into state law. The state auditor is required to withhold those payments prior to the distribution of income tax revenue to local communities and to send the money directly to the Northwest Indiana Regional Development Authority to fund the rail project. (HEA 1473)

Water management — The Indiana Finance Authority is put in charge of coordinating all executive branch activities relating to the state's water programs. The agency must divide the state into water study areas and hold annual meetings with representatives of water and wastewater utilities in each area. (SEA 4)

Opioids — Any prescription drug that contains, or is derived from, opium must include a notice on the prescription label that the drug is an opioid. (SEA 133)

Fire districts — Local fire protection district boards are permitted to pay their trustees up to $100 a meeting, instead of a maximum of $20, in the hope of enticing more residents to serve. (SEA 156)

Veterans aid — Eligible Indiana Department of Veterans Affairs employees must request Military Family Relief Fund emergency financial assistance through the Indiana Veterans Affairs Commission, instead of from the agency's director. (HEA 1257)

Public theft — Government employees who steal from their employers can have their retirement pension contributions or benefits seized to reimburse the value of the stolen funds or property. (HEA 1192)

Juvenile detention — School corporations are required to provide student curricular material to any child who is detained in a juvenile facility for more than seven days, if requested to do so by the child's parent or the facility. (SEA 29)

Wage assignment — With the employee's consent, an employer can deduct the cost of renting or purchasing work uniforms or tools directly from the employee's paycheck. The deductions cannot include the cost of protective equipment or exceed $2,500 a year. (SEA 99)

Conflict of interest — A building commissioner, building code official or inspector cannot be involved in issuing a building permit if he or she has a direct or indirect financial interest in the project associated with the permit. (SEA 142)

Traffic crimes — A motorist with a suspended or revoked driver's license who injures or kills other drivers or passengers on the road can be charged with a separate crime for each person injured or killed and potentially can be sentenced to consecutive prison terms. (SEA 186)

This content was contributed by a user of the site. If you believe this content may be in violation of the terms of use, you may report it.


Get Government & Politics updates in your inbox!

* I understand and agree that registration on or use of this site constitutes agreement to its user agreement and privacy policy.

Related to this story

Get up-to-the-minute news sent straight to your device.


News Alerts

Breaking News


Entertainment & Dining

Latest News

Local Sports

NWI Prep Sport News

Weather Alerts