INDIANAPOLIS — As of July 1, tomorrow, several new laws will go into effect in Indiana. Here's some you need to know about.
SEA 236: Classifies religious activities as essential services. Under the law, the state may not restrict the right to worship or to worship in person during a disaster emergency.
The state may also not impose restrictions on the operation of a religious organization, or religious services that are more restrictive than the restrictions imposed on other businesses and organizations that provide essential services to the public.
SEA 202: Facilities should allow patients who are in end-of-life situations, those with Alzheimer's disease, dementia, or a related cognitive disorder or other situations to have visitors during a public health emergency or a similar crisis. Eligible visitors include family members, legal representatives, the patient's designee, a member of the clergy, essential caregivers or any other individual capable of meeting the patient's needs.
SEA 5: 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 1: The law protects businesses against lawsuits from COVID-19 unless there is gross negligence or willful misconduct. It was supported by many statewide business organizations.
HEA 1405: The state or a local unit cannot issue or require a COVID-19 "immunization passport" (a document concerning an individual's immunization status).
SEA 368: A juvenile arrestee, someone who is under 18 and is being charged as an adult, cannot be housed with adult inmates while awaiting trial or other legal process.
SEA 187: This bill requires state police to prioritize investigating and prosecuting any person that destroys, damages, vandalizes, or desecrates a private or government monument, memorial, statue or other commemorative property or the state capitol or Indiana government center campus.
State police also should provide appropriate personnel to assist with the protection of monuments, memorials, statues, or property owned by the state or a political subdivision.
House Bill 1006: This bill includes provisions for mandatory de-escalation training, misdemeanor penalties for officers who turn off body cameras, and bans on chokeholds in certain circumstances. The bill also establishes a procedure for the law enforcement training board to decertify officers who commit misconduct and eases the sharing of employment records between police departments.
House Bill 1558: Establishes the Indiana crime guns task force to address violent crime in Boone, Hamilton, Hancock, Hendricks, Marion, Morgan, Johnson, and Shelby counties by delivering, in cooperation with state and federal officials, a uniform strategy to trace firearms used to commit crimes
House Bill 1033: Police officers and firefighters are no longer required to live within 50 miles of the community they serve if they have adequate transportation to their job and reliable telephone service. A city with a population of less than 7,500 may adopt an ordinance that requires a member of the city's police or fire department to comply with the following: (1) Reside within the county in which the city is located (2) Have adequate means of transportation into the city. (3) Maintain in the member's residence telephone service to communicate with the city.
SEA 398: Extends the time in which an absentee ballot must be received on election day from noon to 6 p.m. Allows all counties, not just Marion County, to open absentee ballot envelopes by machine. It also requires locations where absentee in person voting occurs to meet accessibility standards that apply to polling locations on Election Day.
Senate Bill 97: Popcorn grown in Indiana is the official state snack.
HB 1197: Designates the Hoosier Spirit II P-47 Thunderbolt as the official state aircraft. The plane is currently at the Evansville Wartime Museum.
HEA 1230: Due to extenuating circumstances, if a child's parent or a person is unable to give up custody of a child under the procedure set forth in Indiana's safe haven law, allows parents to call 911 to have an emergency medical service provider take custody of a child less than 30 days of age.
Additionally, HEA 1032 allows placement of a newborn safety device at any facility that is staffed by an emergency medical services provider on a 24 hour per day, seven day per week basis.