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Here are the new Indiana laws to know before they take effect July 1
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2021 Indiana General Assembly

Here are the new Indiana laws to know before they take effect July 1

More than 200 new Indiana laws were approved this year by the Republican-controlled General Assembly and enacted by Republican Gov. Eric Holcomb.

While a few "emergency" laws took effect immediately, such as Senate Enrolled Act 1 limiting the civil legal liability of businesses, health care providers, nursing homes, manufacturers, schools and other entities from most claims relating to COVID-19, the bulk of the new state statutes take effect Thursday.

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

School funding — Indiana elementary and high schools will receive $1.03 billion, or 9.1%, in additional student tuition support during the 2022-23 budget period, pushing school funding over $8 billion a year for the first time in state history. (House Enrolled Act 1001)

Wetlands — Private property owners can drain or fill nearly all isolated wetlands without having to obtain a state permit or replace the wetlands elsewhere. Indiana wetlands connecting to waterways remain subject to federal regulation. (Senate Enrolled Act 389)

Children's hospitals — To ensure continued access to out-of-state children's hospitals, the rates Indiana Medicaid pays children's hospitals in Illinois and elsewhere for treating sick Hoosier children must closely match the significantly higher rates Medicaid currently pays Riley Hospital for Children in Indianapolis. (HEA 1305)

Religious services — No state or local official can restrict the right to worship, including in-person worship, during a disaster or public health emergency. Religious activities besides worship, such as Sunday School, Bible study, or charitable events, are classified as "essential." (SEA 263)

Police training — Police officers must be provided de-escalation instruction during use of force training courses and chokeholds only are permitted in limited situations. Officers are prohibited from intentionally turning off a body camera to conceal a criminal act by themselves or other officers. (HEA 1006)

State snack — Popcorn grown in Indiana is designated as the official state snack. (SEA 97)

Veteran tuition — Recently discharged military veterans living in Illinois, or any state bordering Indiana, are entitled to pay in-state tuition rates to attend Indiana public universities if they enroll within three years of ending their military service. (SEA 93)

School internet — Every public and charter school in the state by Jan. 1, 2022 must install hardware or software on all school-owned computers and mobile devices that block internet-based material deemed "harmful to minors," such as sexually explicit photos or videos. (SEA 414)

NWI projects — $400 million is appropriated to reconstruct the Westville Correctional Facility in LaPorte County, $25 million for a new state police post in Lowell, and $1.2 million for the second phase of a study looking at intermodal uses for Gary’s Buffington Harbor (HEA 1001)

First responder residency — Police officers and firefighters no longer are required to live within 50 miles of the community they serve so long as they have adequate transportation to their job and reliable telephone service. (HEA 1033)

Cardiac arrest — Information about sudden cardiac arrest must be provided to school employees and the parents of student athletes, including how to obtain electrocardiogram testing. (HEA 1040)

Abortion — Women procuring a pill-induced abortion in Indiana must be told by their doctor the procedure potentially can be "reversed" — despite no reputable medical evidence backing that claim. (HEA 1577)

Tax sales — Individuals who owe tax debts are prohibited from bidding on properties at county tax sales. Ineligible bidders also are barred from hiding behind a business or corporate entity to acquire tax sale properties. (SEA 28)

Immunization 'passport' — The state or a local government in Indiana cannot issue any kind of COVID-19 immunization passport, or require proof of COVID-19 vaccination status for any purpose. (HEA 1405)

Eyelash extensions — Eyelash extension specialists are not required to obtain an esthetician or cosmetology license to work in the field if they successfully complete a training course offered by a manufacturer of eyelash extensions. (SEA 361)

Absentee voting — The time before which absentee ballots must be returned to the county election office is set at 6 p.m., instead of 12 p.m., on Election Day. (SEA 398)

Visitation — Hospitals and nursing homes must allow visitation by family or other individuals, even during a public health emergency, when a patient or resident is nearing the end of life, set to undergo a major medical procedure, or otherwise in need of significant assistance. (SEA 202)

Vehicle titles — The Bureau of Motor Vehicles must establish an electronic system to process vehicle titles and liens in lieu of paper processing by July 1, 2022, that will be used for all Indiana vehicle title and lien transactions after July 1, 2023. (SEA 400)

Business personal property tax — Businesses with total personal property that cost less than $80,000 to acquire, instead of $40,000, are exempt from the business personal property tax. (SEA 336)

Monuments — The state police is directed to prioritize monument protection generally and state troopers must be dispatched, upon request, to protect any monument at risk of vandalism anywhere in the state, and to assist in any local investigation of monument damage or destruction. (SEA 187)

Health orders — The local governing body overseeing a county or city health officer is required to approve any health order whose provisions go beyond state requirements during an emergency. (SEA 5)

Teachers unions — Teachers must annually re-enroll in their union and complete a multi-step process to have union dues deducted from their paychecks. Indiana schools also must provide teachers notice during the year — in bold, 14-point type — that teachers can resign their union membership at any time. (SEA 251)

Absent officials — A county council and board of commissioners may jointly seek to remove a county auditor, treasurer, recorder, surveyor or assessor who fails to be physically present in their office "for a reasonable amount of time each month," refuses to perform the duties of their office, or charges and collects illegal fees." (HEA 1030)

Employee microchipping — State and local governments are added to the list of employers already barred by a 2020 Indiana statute from forcibly implanting a microchip in their employees' bodies. (HEA 1156)

Urban agriculture — Municipalities may designate urban agricultural zones that are exempt from property taxes as an incentive to attract new or low-resourced farmers to raise crops inside city limits. (HEA 1283)

Baby boxes — A parent may call 911 to request an emergency services provider pick up a newborn baby the parent intends to permanently surrender, instead of having to find transportation to a police station, fire station, hospital, or baby box. Baby boxes also can be located at an emergency medical services station that's staffed 24 hours a day. (HEA 1230, 1032)

Civics education — Every public, charter and state-accredited private school student in Indiana must complete a one semester course in civics education in either sixth, seventh or eighth grade, beginning with students starting sixth grade during the 2023-24 school year. (HEA 1384)

Telehealth — Most state statutory restrictions on virtual doctor visits and other telehealth services that were suspended in 2020 and 2021 due to the governor's declaration of a public health emergency are permanently lifted. (SEA 3)

Public notice — Local units of government required to publish the same public notice multiple times may post any subsequent notices to their official website, so long as the first publication is in a local newspaper. (SEA 332)

Juvenile justice — Individuals younger than 18 who are charged as adults must still be housed in a secure juvenile facility, unless a court determines, and regularly affirms, it is in the best interest of justice that the juvenile be jailed alongside adults. (SEA 368)

Gaming compact — The Four Winds Casino in South Bend is permitted to offer patrons standard slot machines, table games and sports wagering, instead of just bingo-related gaming. (HEA 1055)

Judicial selection — The Lake County Judicial Nominating Commission shrinks to seven members from nine, with three members appointed by the governor, three by the county commissioners, and the Indiana chief justice's designee serving as chairman and a nonvoting seventh member, except in case of ties. (HEA 1453)

Go on patrol with Aaron Crawford, a Cpl. with the Lowell Police Department, as he speaks about joining the force, DUI enforcement grants, and police Jiu-jitsu training.

Emergency session — The General Assembly may, without the governor’s consent, convene itself for up to 40 days whenever its 16-member Legislative Council decides action is needed to respond to a statewide emergency. (HEA 1123)

Broadband internet — The Office of Community and Rural Affairs is directed to establish an online portal for Hoosiers to report if their internet service is slower than 25 megabits per second for downloads and 3 megabits per second for uploads. (SEA 377)

Suffragists — A monument recognizing the decades of efforts to secure the right to vote for women must be placed on the Indiana Statehouse grounds by Jan. 1, 2024. (SEA 6)

Small claims court — The maximum value of a civil action eligible for judgment in an Indiana small claims court is $10,000, up from $8,000. (HEA 1110)

School buildings — The attorney general is empowered to monitor all school districts to ensure compliance with an existing state law requiring unused public school buildings be made available to charter schools for $1. School districts also are required to maintain unused school buildings until they're sold or otherwise disposed of. (SEA 358)

Electronic meetings — Members of local governing boards may participate electronically in no more than half the board’s annual meetings as long as they can engage in two-way audio and visual communication with the other members and at least 50% of the members are physically present for each meeting. (HEA 1437)

Legislative session — The statutory adjournment deadline for the General Assembly is changed to Nov. 15 from April 29, for this year only, to give state lawmakers more time to complete the once-a-decade process of redrawing legislative district boundaries following the U.S. Census. (HEA 1372)

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