Numerous new laws were signed into effect today by the Indiana Senate. Among those are several controversial laws including the “slowpoke” law, the Religious Freedom Restoration Act and the ability to now own a sawed-off shotgun.
Below is a short digest of some of the more notable laws signed into effect today.
- Senate Bill 8 — Death Penalty Aggravator
- Senate Bill 8 will provide for the eligibility of the death sentence should a murder involve decapitation or attempted decapitation of a victim. The bill was penned by Sen. Brent Steele and Sen. James Buck.
- Senate Bill 433 — Sawed-off Shotguns
- The newest draft of Senate Bill 433 will provide for the ability to manufacture, import, sell and/or possess a sawed-off shotgun. Though the law does make sawed-off shotguns accessible to those with a gun permit, the bill also provides for a 10 year sentence enhancement should a person possessing a sawed-off shotgun be in violation of federal law while committing certain offenses. The bill provides conforming amendments in conjunction with the implementation of use for the shotguns.
- House Bill 1161 — Immunity for Damage Caused Rescuing a Child
- House Bill 1161 will put in place new protections for those attempting to rescue a child trapped within a car. The bill grants civil immunity to a person who forcibly enters a locked motor vehicle for the purpose of rescuing a child, such as in the case of a child locked within a hot car. This does not extend civil immunity to acts involving gross negligence or willful and wanton misconduct. The bill requires the individual contact law enforcement prior to entry or immediately after. The individual is then required to remain at the scene with the child until a law enforcement officer can arrive.
- Senate Bill 394 — Reporting of Government Malfeasance
- Senate Bill 394 will provide for confidentiality and relief for an individual who reports certain suspected violations of the law by local, public officers and officials. The bill was authored by Sen. Ed Charbonneau, Sen. Brent Steele and Sen. John Broden.
- Senate Bill 568 — The Religious Freedom Restoration Act
- After a controversial first signing of the Senate Bill 568, new language has been added to the bill to clarify matters involving the discrimination of the LGBT community. The bill provides that a state or local government action may not substantially burden a person’s right to exercise their religion unless it is demonstrated that applying the burden to the person’s exercise of religion is: essential to further a compelling government interest; or is the least restrictive means of furthering the compelling government interest. The bill provides that those who have been burdened in their exercise of religion, or are likely to be burdened, may assert the burden as a claim or defense in a judicial proceeding, regardless of whether the state or a political subdivision of the state is a party to the judicial proceeding.
- House Bill 1305 — “Slowpoke Law”
- House Bill 1305 states, “a person may not drive a motor vehicle at a slow speed that impedes or blocks the normal and reasonable movement of traffic, except when reduced speed is necessary for safe operation or in compliance with the law.” The bill notes a person who is driving on a roadway with no more than one lane of traffic in each direction at a slow enough speed to cause three or more vehicles to be blocked and unable to pass are required to move to the right of the roadway immediately to allow for “blocked” vehicles to pass. Those who speed up or do not allow for a vehicle to pass are eligible for a Class A misdemeanor charge should an accident occur that causes bodily injury to an individual. Vehicles traveling on multi-lane roads are required to yield the left lane to faster moving traffic.
- Senate Bill 6 — Powdered or crystalline alcohol
- Senate Bill 6 now makes it a Class B infraction to possess, purchase, sell, offer to sell or use powdered or crystalline alcohol. The bill does establish exceptions and urges the legislative council to assign to the public policy interim study committee topics related to powdered or crystalline alcohol.
- Senate Bill 307 — Consumer Protection
- Senate Bill 307 has amended the state statute concerning telephone solicitations of consumers, also known as “Indiana’s ‘Do Not Call’ Law.” The bill provides that a person may not provide substantial assistance or support to a telephone solicitor, a supplier or a caller if the person knows or consciously avoids knowing that the telephone solicitor, supplier or caller has violated the “do not call” law or the statute concerning the regulation of automatic dialing machines.
For further information and a complete listing of the numerous laws signed into effect today, visit http://indianacourts.us/legislative/?p=635.