State lawmakers work hard to craft and support policies putting Hoosiers first, and 2020 is no exception. House Republicans championed several new laws now in effect supporting teachers, patients and farmers. Here’s a look at some notable new laws:
Teachers, Students and Schools
As part of House Enrolled Act 1002, standardized test scores will no longer be required to be a part of teacher performance evaluations. This should reduce the pressure educators often feel to teach to the test and, as a result, make teaching more attractive as a career. As Indiana continues to transition to the new ILEARN exam, lawmakers also passed Senate Enrolled Act 2 so that school accountability grades cannot be negatively impacted by student scores for two years.
To help cut red tape, House Enrolled Act 1003 went into effect earlier this year to allow the State Board of Education to streamline the timing and frequency of required teacher trainings and grant waivers for schools to bypass over 1,500 regulations. This law stems from a summer study committee where lawmakers heard from educators on how to grow the teaching profession.
House Enrolled Act 1283 supports students with mental health issues, including those involved in bullying, and experiencing behavioral problems or physical illnesses. The new law ensures aspiring educators receive training on best practices to recognize students’ behavioral reactions to trauma so they can address these issues in their classrooms with increased understanding and insight.
With 33 percent of Hoosiers receiving an expected medical bill last year, as indicated by a recent survey, House Republicans took steps to prevent the unfair practice of “surprise medical billing.” Under House Enrolled Act 1004, patients will be protected from receiving surprise medical bills from out-of-network providers, and, in the case of an elective procedure, the patient will have the right to receive an upfront, good-faith estimate of expected charges. In addition, Senate Enrolled Act 5 requires hospitals, outpatient surgery centers and urgent care clinics to publish their average prices online, and a new HIPAA-compliant database of all health insurance claims will empower consumers by providing information about cost and quality.
Farmers and Rural Communities
With more than 94,000 farmers in Indiana, House Republicans continue to prioritize policies supporting these hardworking Hoosiers. Senate Enrolled Act 184 allows the Indiana Farm Bureau to offer a health benefits plan to its members. This plan is not health insurance, but would provide similar benefits to help many farmers who have limited access to affordable health care options. Other states, such as Kansas and Tennessee, have implemented similar programs through their Farm Bureaus.
To support rural communities, House Enrolled Act 1370 allows cities and towns to band together and enter into regional land banks to acquire tax-delinquent and blighted properties to restore them.
For more information on these and other new laws, visit iga.in.gov.