INDIANAPOLIS — A state task force charged with reviewing every aspect of Indiana's alcohol laws appears likely to end its two-year project this month without recommending major reforms to the General Assembly.
The Alcohol Code Revision Commission hashed out preliminary recommendations Friday as a prelude to its Sept. 28 meeting where the 17-member panel will identify the alcohol policy changes it believes Hoosier lawmakers should enact during the legislative session that begins in January.
Those recommendations are likely to include tinkering with the population-based quota system to give restaurants in growing communities the opportunity to secure alcohol sale permits — even when the local resident count normally would not justify it.
Munster, in particular, could benefit from that change, depending on how the policy is written and whether the Republican-controlled General Assembly ultimately approves it.
The town was stymied earlier this year when it sought legislative permission to issue three new permits for on-premises alcohol consumption at Centennial Village restaurants on top of the standard allotment of alcohol sale permits available in Munster.
Commissioner Randall Woodruff, an Anderson attorney, suggested the best way to help Munster, and every other Indiana locality, would be to scrap the quota system altogether, and let the free market determine how many alcohol retailers in a community are too many.
"It seems to me the evil is the quota system," Woodruff said. "I don't think it's necessary and I don't think it works."
Woodruff pointed out that ending quotas also would address the 745 alcohol sale permits currently held in escrow by individuals supposedly intending to start a business, but who often are just hoarding permits so their existing businesses face no competition.
Three state lawmakers, including the chairmen of the House and Senate committees responsible for alcohol policy, rejected the idea of eliminating the quota system because they said alcohol is a dangerous drug that cannot simply be treated like any other commodity.
State Rep. Ben Smaltz, R-Auburn, chairman of the House Public Policy Committee, said it's undisputed that increasing the outlet density of alcohol leads to more drunk driving incidents, increased sexual assaults and numerous other societal ills.
"It's a very dangerous proposition," he said in explaining his preference to instead fix the quota system and escrow process.
The commission also is likely to recommend tougher penalties, such as higher fines and increased permit fees, for alcohol retailers who sell to minors, as well as for individuals under age 21 who consume alcohol.
It is not expected to take a position on whether Indiana should allow retailers, other than package liquor stores, to sell refrigerated beer.
Adoption records, CBD oil, eyeball tattoos, Sunday sales and more: 70 new Indiana laws affecting your life
Check out these new laws in Indiana
INDIANAPOLIS — Gov. Eric Holcomb this year signed 215 new state laws approved by the Republican-controlled Indiana House and Senate during the regular legislative session, which ran between Jan. 3 and March 14, and at a May 14 special session.
While a few "emergency" laws, such as Sunday retail alcohol sales, took effect immediately, most of the new statutes enacted by the Republican chief executive go into force today.
Here's a look at 69 notable new laws Hoosiers now must follow:
Under a 2016 law that finally took effect July 1, 2018, the birth records of pre-1994 adoptees have the same status as post-Jan. 1, 1994, adoptees: open to the individuals involved, unless a biological parent requests they remain closed. Indiana children put up for adoption can obtain information about their birth parents and medical histories by filing a request form with the State Department of Health available at
Cannabidiol, more commonly known as CBD oil, may immediately be used by any Hoosier for any health condition. After July 1, CBD oil retailers only can sell CBD products that comply with new testing and packaging requirements, including certification that the product is derived from industrial hemp and not marijuana. (Senate Enrolled Act 52)
Starting July 1, it is prohibited to tattoo the whites of a person's eyes. A violation can trigger a $10,000 fine. Indiana is the second state to ban eyeball tattoos; Oklahoma was first. (Senate Enrolled Act 158)
The retail sale of beer, wine and liquor at Indiana grocery, drug and convenience stores on Sundays is permitted for the first time in the 201-year history of Indiana. (Senate Enrolled Act 1)
A person convicted of drug dealing that results in the death of a user is eligible for a prison term of between 20 and 40 years. Only murder is punished more severely in Indiana. (House Enrolled Act 1359)
State officials can immediately shut down any licensed day care facility, home or ministry if weapons of any kind are found in a place that is accessible to children. This law was inspired by a 2017 dangerous day care incident in Merrillville reported in The Times. (House Enrolled Act 1073)
Say's Firefly, also known as pyractomena angulata, is designated the official state insect. The firefly, which technically is a beetle, is native to Indiana and named for Thomas Say, a 19th-century naturalist who lived and worked in New Harmony, Indiana, and is widely considered the father of American entomology. (Senate Enrolled Act 236)
$5 million in additional state funding is provided for secured school safety grants. Schools also are authorized to obtain low-interest state loans to pay for safety improvements. The Department of Education is required to conduct regular audits of public school safety plans. School employees can block exit doors for up to three minutes following an unplanned fire alarm to check for an active shooter. (HEA 1230)
Governments that maintain public records in an electronic format must provide the record electronically to any person who requests a copy. The requester also can have the electronic record provided on paper. (Senate Enrolled Act 392)
Apartment complexes and individual landlords who own more than three rental properties cannot charge pet rent or any extra fee to a tenant who has been prescribed an emotional support animal by a licensed medical caregiver. (Senate Enrolled Act 240)
Gary School Board
The elected trustees of the Gary Community School Corp. serve solely in an advisory capacity for Emergency Manager Peggy Hinckley to consult when she sees fit. The board is limited to four public meetings a year. Hinckley must hold monthly public forums to keep Gary residents apprised of what's happening in their school corporation. (HEA 1315)
Purchasing, renting, leasing or licensing computer software that is delivered electronically is classified as a service and the transaction is not subject to Indiana's 7 percent sales tax. According to numerous business owners, state law previously was unclear whether software obtained online was an untaxed service or a taxable product. (Senate Enrolled Act 257)
Public school students are allowed to carry and use nonaerosol sunscreen without having to provide a doctor's note to their school or store their sunscreen in a specific school location. School personnel also can help students apply sunscreen with the written permission of the student's parent. (Senate Enrolled Act 24)
Clean sand dredged from the sides of Lake Michigan structures must be deposited directly on eroded Northwest Indiana beaches, instead of offshore where the sand may never reach the beach. (Senate Enrolled Act 178)
Parents of elementary and high school students must be provided an opportunity to inspect all instructional material concerning human sexuality, and given the option of keeping their child from attending sex education courses. (Senate Enrolled Act 65)
National Guard members from Indiana or an adjoining state who attend an Indiana public university are entitled to a tuition refund or credit and guaranteed re-enrollment if called to active duty during an academic term. (HEA 1047)
Firefighters are authorized to provide free carbon monoxide testing of the interior of any vehicle to ensure there are no exhaust system leaks that threaten the health or life of a motorist. (SEA 100)
A fetus at any stage of development is recognized as an individual separate from its mother if her pregnancy is terminated due to a violent crime or drunken driving. Previously, a fetus had to attain viability, or roughly 24 weeks gestation, for a person to be charged with causing its death. The law does not apply to legal abortions or women who terminate their own pregnancies. (Senate Enrolled Act 203)
Adults who are unable to consent to health treatments, and have not appointed a health care representative, will have their care decided by whoever ranks highest in the following priority order: court-appointed guardian; spouse; adult child; parent; adult sibling; grandparent; adult grandchild; nearest other adult relative; or long-established friend. (House Enrolled Act 1119)
Day care providers who take care of children less than 12 months old are required to be trained in safe sleep guidelines. Repeated failure to follow the guidelines can result in fines or loss of operating license. (Senate Enrolled Act 187)
The State Department of Health is charged with reviewing the deaths of all Indiana women who don't survive childbirth. The agency also must identify ways of reducing maternal mortality. (Senate Enrolled Act 142)
New massage therapists must complete 625 hours of classroom and hands-on instruction, up from 500 hours, to obtain a state license. Massage therapists also must undergo a nationwide criminal history check and carry professional liability insurance to retain their licenses. (House Enrolled Act 1130)
Teachers, school employees and emergency medical technicians must regularly be trained in suicide awareness and prevention. (Senate Enrolled Act 230)
The words "herein, hereafter, hereinafter, therein, theretofore, hereunder, hereinunder, heretofore, hereinabove and thereunder" are replaced throughout the Indiana Code with simpler terms. State officeholder duties are revised to eliminate gender-specific pronouns. (HEA 1031)
Doctors and hospitals are required to compile and submit a detailed report every time a woman seeks treatment for a physical or psychological condition that is in any way connected to a past abortion. Failing to submit an "abortion complications" report is a Class B misdemeanor, punishable by up to six months in jail and a $1,000 fine, for each instance of noncompliance. (Senate Enrolled Act 340)
A process is established for the state to finance the double tracking of the existing South Shore commuter rail line between Gary and Michigan City, as well as the West Lake expansion between Hammond and Dyer. The Indiana Finance Authority, Northwest Indiana Regional Development Authority and the Northern Indiana Commuter Transportation District are designated as the entities responsible for construction, leasing and ownership of the rail projects. (House Enrolled Act 1374)
Non-U.S. citizens who are allowed to work in the United States through the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program can obtain any required state or local occupational licenses for which they qualify. Holcomb said: "I support removing impediments in state law that keep Indiana's DACA recipients from skilling up and going to work." (Senate Enrolled Act 419)
Over the next three years, the number of opioid treatment facilities in the state are scheduled to grow to 27 from 18, so that no Hoosier is more than an hour's drive from a drug treatment center. (House Enrolled Act 1007)
The Governor's Workforce Cabinet is established to conduct regular reviews, analyses and evaluations of all Indiana workforce development programs. It replaces the similarly tasked State Workforce Innovation Council. (Senate Enrolled Act 50)
Businesses are incentivized to offer skills training programs to their employees, such as $500 for any company that financially assists an adult employee in completing a high school diploma or equivalency diploma. (House Enrolled Act 1002)
Members of the General Assembly are required to annually participate in at least one hour of sexual harassment training, in addition to mandatory ethics training. (House Enrolled Act 1309)
School corporations are explicitly authorized to teach cursive handwriting as an optional curriculum component. That's already been the practice since 2011 when keyboarding instruction replaced cursive in the state's educational standards. (House Enrolled Act 1420)
High school diploma
To comply with federal requirements, Indiana's four current high school diplomas are merged into one diploma with one of four designations: General; Core 40; Core 40 with academic honors; or Core 40 with technical honors. (House Enrolled Act 1426)
A state water infrastructure task force is established to develop a long-term plan for addressing drinking water, wastewater and storm water management needs. It also must create an empirical decision-making tool that enables policymakers to prioritize water infrastructure projects. (House Enrolled Act 1267)
Indiana schools must include employability skills in their curriculum, beginning in the 2019-20 school year. The specific "soft skills" to be taught, such as on-time arrival and ability to take direction, will be decided by the Indiana Department of Education and Department of Workforce Development. (Senate Enrolled Act 297)
A loophole is closed that previously prevented motorists under age 21 from being convicted of drunk driving resulting in death. (Senate Enrolled Act 404)
Fire stations staffed 24 hours a day are permitted to install "baby boxes" for individuals to anonymously give up permanent custody of an infant that's less than 30 days old. (Senate Enrolled Act 340)
Individuals charged with certain misdemeanor crimes may have the opportunity to participate in a drug addiction pilot program, similar to the addiction treatment provided to felons. In addition, the Indiana Judicial Center officially becomes the Indiana Office of Judicial Administration. (House Enrolled Act 1006)
Surplus state property must be sold at auction by a state-licensed auctioneer or through a website operated by an Indiana auctioneer. (Senate Enrolled Act 300)
Every public school, including charter schools, must embed computer science training in their kindergarten through 12th grade curriculum, beginning in the 2021-22 school year. In addition, every high school, starting in fall 2021, is required to annually offer a one-semester elective computer science course open to all students. (SEA 172)
The state budget director is authorized to transfer $25 million from Indiana's tuition reserve account to cover any state school funding shortfalls caused by greater than anticipated public school enrollment in the current academic year, and up to $75 million during the 2018-19 school year. (House Enrolled Act 1001)
The state's model plan for improving student behavior must seek to reduce out-of-school suspension and expulsion, as well as limit law enforcement referrals unless a student's arrest is necessary to protect the health or safety of others. (HEA 1421)
Sailors originally from any state who serve on the new USS Indiana submarine for at least 180 days are entitled to pay in-state tuition at Indiana's public universities if they enroll within one year of receiving an honorable discharge. (HEA 1242)
Food sold through vending machines no longer is subject to Indiana's 7 percent sales tax starting July 1, 2019. Purchasers of candy, soft drinks and other vending machine staples not classified as "food" under state law still will have to pay sales tax, just as they do in stores. (Senate Enrolled Act 124)
School corporations and charter schools must screen students for dyslexia risk factors and offer intervention assistance to parents of students with dyslexia characteristics. Starting in the 2019-20 academic year, each school district and charter school must employ at least one reading specialist trained in dyslexia. (SEA 217)
State agencies and local governments are prohibited from enacting rules or ordinances requiring the installation of an automatic fire sprinkler system in single family homes, duplexes or townhomes. (SEA 393)
Counties must pay the maximum state-required contribution to community mental health centers. This will increase annual mental health spending in Lake County by an estimated $175,000, Porter $150,000 and LaPorte $15,000. (House Enrolled Act 1141)
The Statewide Sexual Assault Response Team Advisory Council is directed to study the feasibility of developing a rape kit tracking and testing database, including identifying which agency should manage the database and who would pay for it. (SEA 264)
Hoosier voters whose names and birth dates match individuals registered to vote in another state, as compiled by the Kansas secretary of state, won't automatically be purged from the Indiana voter list, unless the records include additional confidence factors, such as a matching Social Security number, driver's license number or street address. (HEA 1253)
School corporations no longer are required to include reported student bullying incidents in their annual performance reports. The data still must be submitted to the Indiana Department of Education, which gains the power to audit local school bullying records. (HEA 1356)
Localities with no restrictions on short-term rental properties as of Jan. 1, 2018, cannot enact rules or regulations prohibiting property owners from making their residences available for short-term rental through services such as AirBnB. (HEA 1035)
A requirement that Healthy Indiana Plan participants be subject to a minimum $25 co-payment on a second or subsequent emergency room visit for treatment of a non-emergency health condition is eliminated to comply with federal rules. (HEA 1220)
A crime victim, or the spouse or family of a deceased crime victim, is entitled to a free electronic trial transcript if the perpetrator appeals his or her conviction. (HEA 1173)
Individuals who purchase tax sale real estate that has a pending local government repair order are substituted for the original property owner as the responsible party for completing the repairs. (SEA 296)
SNAP work mandate
Legislative leaders are urged to convene a study committee to examine the possibility of imposing work requirements on individuals participating in the federal Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, formerly known as food stamps. (HEA 1285)
Disabled military veterans who do not want a disabled veteran license plate instead can obtain a disability parking placard to hang from their rear view mirror. (SEA 262)
Use of the title "chiropractor" by anyone other than a state-licensed chiropractor is forbidden. (HEA 1384)
Landowners are not liable for injuries to individuals who cross private property to access a trail, greenway or similar recreation area. (HEA 1115)
The State Department of Health is directed to collaborate with the Family and Social Services Administration to develop a strategic plan for reducing diabetes and prediabetes among Hoosiers. (HEA 1175)
The initial fee for participating in a pretrial diversion program is set at $50 for a misdemeanor and increased to $75 for a felony, up from $50. The monthly fee for continuing participants is doubled to $20. (HEA 1057)
State prisons, mental hospitals and benevolent institutions may use funds dedicated to inmate, patient or student recreation to also purchase equipment for detecting forbidden contraband. (SEA 44)
School sports coaches and assistant coaches must participate in a certified coaching education course on heat-related medical issues involving student athletes. (HEA 1024)
Trained community corrections and probation officers join police, firefighters and emergency medical personnel as individuals permitted to procure and administer overdose intervention drugs without risk of civil liability. (SEA 13)
Property storage businesses may now charge a late fee for untimely rent payments of either $20 or 20 percent of the monthly rent, as well as reasonable costs and expenses for rent collection and lien enforcement. (HEA 1194)
The maximum number of foster children that can live in one home is increased to six, from five. (SEA 184) The Department of Child Services is directed to develop a foster parents' bill of rights. (SEA 233)
Local nurses and others share all the things new moms and dads should know when they bring their newborn home.
Criminals sentenced to home detention no longer must have an operating landline phone if they have a working cellular or wireless phone or communications device. (HEA 1034)
A person accused of murder is entitled to be bailed out of jail unless the state shows the proof is evident or the presumption is strong. Previously, a person charged with murder carried the burden of proof for bail eligibility. (HEA 1328)
Wills (HEA 1303) and vehicle titles (HEA 1095) may be maintained and issued in an electronic format.
Township board members can decide to adopt staggered four-year terms beginning in 2022. (SEA 165)