Around the House



#NewIndianaLaws: Kirk’s Law

Starting July 1, Indiana will be the first state to begin developing an online child abuse registry.

This new law, named after Kirk Coleman, is the result of Kirk’s death while under the care of a babysitter who had been previously charged with child neglect.

In a year from now, possibly sooner, people will be able to access an online registry providing a list of all individuals convicted of child abuse or neglect — similar to sex-offender registries.

Protecting and providing a safe environment for Hoosier children to grow and learn is a priority for House Republicans. The goal of this law is to prevent tragedies like Kirk’s by providing caregivers with a tool to better ensure those caring for children are nonviolent and trustworthy.

Follow #NewIndianaLaws on social media and our blog series for more highlights of laws effective July 1, 2016.



In 2016, House Republicans placed special emphasis on enacting policies promoting greater public safety for Hoosiers.

Unfortunately, human trafficking is the fastest growing and second largest criminal industry in the world. Three new Indiana laws focus on combating this heinous crime.

House Enrolled Act (HEA) 1199, authored by State Rep. Wendy McNamara, requires an individual found guilty of promoting the trafficking of a minor to register as a sex offender on the Indiana Sex and Violent Offender Registry. The Indiana Department of Correction and police officers across the state monitor the database to track offenders to ensure they are not breaking the law once released.

HEA 1028, authored by State Rep. Randy Truitt, increases penalties for individuals profiting from human trafficking and those who knowingly visit places in violation of trafficking laws. Senate Enrolled Act (SEA) 305, sponsored by State Reps. Dave Frizzell and Wendy McNamara, allows the Department of Child Services to intervene and serve children who are victims of human trafficking.

Here are highlights of other new laws to keep Hoosiers safe:

  • HEA 1105: Protecting children conceived as the result of rape by allowing mothers to request the termination of the rapist’s parental rights.
  • SEA 14: Increasing penalties for criminals convicted of child exploitation and pornography crimes.
  • HEA 1048: Requiring motorists in minor crashes to safely move vehicles to the side of the road and out of traffic.
  • SEA 248: Prohibiting motorists convicted of speeding twice in work zones within a year from driving for 60 days.
  • SEA 357: Posting names and records of individuals convicted of child abuse on an online registry maintained by the state court system.
  • HEA 1019: Balancing public transparency with the privacy rights of citizens by establishing guidelines for releasing police video recordings.
  • HEA 1211: Increasing penalties for criminals who cause property damage while manufacturing meth, and tracking meth-fire incidents to combat the problem.

Follow #NewIndianaLaws on social media and our blog series for more highlights of laws effective July 1, 2016.



#NewIndianaLaws: A Healthier Indiana

In the 2016 legislative session, policymakers worked on new laws that will help foster a healthier Indiana. Here are highlights of legislation, effective July 1, promoting the wellbeing of Hoosiers across the state:

  • Senate Enrolled Act (SEA) 11: Creating a savings program that Hoosiers with disabilities can use for disability-related costs without placing other benefits at risk.
  • SEA 165: Protecting the successful Healthy Indiana Plan 2.0 for the nearly 370,000 Hoosiers who have enrolled.
  • SEA 315: Providing pregnant Hoosiers information about voluntary umbilical cord donation, a medical practice that can help in life-saving treatments.
  • House Enrolled Act (HEA) 1263: Implementing a variety of telemedicine practice standards and remote prescribing rules to provide convenience to Hoosiers.
  • SEA 186: Encouraging pregnant Hoosiers suffering from drug addiction to get help rather than fear prosecution by keeping drug-screening results private.
  • HEA 1012: Increasing the safety of Hoosiers with developmental disabilities by providing bracelets or identification cards to those who request them.

House Republicans remain committed to enacting health-care policies on behalf of Hoosiers.

Follow #NewIndianaLaws on social media and our blog series for more highlights of laws taking effect July 1, 2016.

#NewIndianaLaws: Veterans

House Republicans worked diligently in the 2016 session to pass legislation supporting the men and women who sacrifice so much to protect our country. Several laws will take effect on July 1 to benefit our Hoosier veterans:

  • SEA 295: Expanding the Military Family Relief Fund, which provides grants to military families in need, to all Hoosier veterans who served on active duty.
  • House Enrolled Act (HEA) 1089: Determining the duties, standards and practices of veteran district service officers who help address individual service-related needs throughout the state.
  • HEA 1313: Increasing access to programs benefiting veterans by including the military service of those who do not currently meet federal criteria.
  • HEA 1359: Waiving the maximum hiring-age restrictions previously placed on veterans who apply to become police officers and firefighters.
  • HEA 1373: Extending employment protections to National Guard members called to active duty.
  • SEA 154: Increasing the funeral allowance from $4,000 to $8,800 for members of the Indiana National Guard who give their lives while protecting our freedoms.
  • SEA 219: Expediting the issuance or renewal of licenses, certificates, registrations or permits to military spouses.
  • HEA 1187: Establishing penalties for stolen valor, making it a crime to profit financially by lying about military service.

Our veterans and their wellbeing are a priority. House Republicans are committed to supporting policies providing service members and their families the care they have rightfully earned.

Follow #NewIndianaLaws on social media and our blog series for more highlights of laws taking effect July 1, 2016.

Did you know? One in five Americans will be affected by a mental health condition in their lifetime.

Since 1949, May has been a month dedicated to raising awareness and reducing the stigma around mental illness in the United States. This year’s theme for Mental Health Month is “Life with a Mental Illness.” Mental Health America is asking individuals to share their experiences through words, pictures and video by tagging their social media posts with #MentalIllnessFeelsLike.

With more than 75 percent of repeat offenders facing some sort of addiction or mental health issue, it is crucial that we find ways to get those individuals the help that they need. House Republicans supported legislation in the 2016 session to reduce recidivism in Indiana’s judicial system by encouraging collaboration between the Division of Mental Health and Addiction, probation departments, community correction agencies and all local criminal justice agencies that receive any funding from the Department of Correction (DOC) for community supervision of adult offenders. The new law will allow the DOC to provide additional grants to county jails to implement evidence-based mental health and addiction forensic treatment services. Counties will also establish and operate pretrial release programs, diversion programs, community corrections programs and court supervised recidivism programs.

House Republicans also supported legislation to allow advanced practice nurses or addiction counselors to bill Medicaid for mental health or addiction services. The goal is to provide more flexibility when treating these disorders and increase the number of mental health professionals in Indiana.

To learn more about mental illness, warning signs and treatment options, visit the National Alliance on Mental Illness website.

Supporting Hoosier Farmers

Indiana’s agricultural industry is a critical part of our economy, generating more than $44 billion annually and providing nearly 190,000 jobs. Supporting our farmers and the industry remains a top priority for House Republicans.

When Hoosier farmers began experiencing steep increases in their property tax bills, the General Assembly needed to act to determine the cause and find a permanent solution to alleviate this burden. In the recently concluded session, policymakers enacted a law modernizing the farmland assessment formula. The legislation is expected to save Hoosier farmers $175 million over the next four years.

The ceremonial signing of this law was an exciting event attended by State Reps. Tim Brown and Bob Cherry, who co-sponsored the bill, as well as other state officials, farming families and employers in the agricultural industry. Three large tractors traveled downtown and parked in front of the Statehouse. While it was quite a paradox seeing heavy equipment typically found in fields in an urban setting, it was also a significant reminder of how much Indiana relies on agriculture.

Katrina Hall, Indiana Farm Bureau’s director of state government relations, said, “Every day of the session, our 73,000 farmer members found their voice in government by meeting with their legislators at the Statehouse and in their district, and also by making thousands of phone and email contacts. Today’s ceremonial signing of SB 308 was the culmination of years of their hard work and dedication.”

Farmers face unique challenges, explained here by State Rep. Bob Cherry. They work hard to put food on our tables, and House Republicans will continue to work hard to support their efforts.

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