As families and friends gather this weekend to celebrate Independence Day, we should also be mindful that July 1 is the date when most new Indiana state laws take effect. I am writing to discuss some of these new laws with your readers.
Clear Roadways: After a motor vehicle collision, drivers are now generally required to move vehicles out of the public roadway. Exceptions apply if there has been an injury or death, or if a vehicle is inoperable. Violating this statute is a Class C infraction.
Child Abuse Registry: The Division of State Court Administration is now required to establish and maintain a registry of information on those convicted of child abuse in Indiana. This data is to be searchable and available to the public. The registry, known as Kirk’s Law, was inspired by the memory of 19-month-old Kirk Coleman of Elkhart County, who died in the care of a provider who had a previous record of child abuse.
Home Health Care Background Check: Workers in the home health care field will be required to pass a background check for criminal history. Previously, this was only required of some home health care applicants depending on circumstances.
Legal Guardian Tax Exemption: Legal guardians of a minor dependent are now eligible for a $1,500 state tax exemption that was previously only available if the dependent was the child of the taxpayer.
Alcohol Sales: Farm wineries are now able to refill growlers, an action which previously required a small brewer’s permit. Also, artisan distilleries are now allowed to sell carry-out alcohol on Sundays in the same manner as wineries and distilleries.
Meat Processing: Small scale poultry producers do not need to have a full time health inspector on site. There will be inspections, similar to the health department inspections that a local restaurant receives.
Auto Dealer and Manufacturer Licensing: A summer study committee is looking into how we regulate Auto Dealer and Manufacturer Licensing. The specific target here is Tesla Motors who sells their cars directly to consumers. A bill was proposed wants to make it illegal for the manufacturer to directly sell their cars and make them go through a third party dealer. This would be a bad law because there is no justifiable reason for it. Hoosiers can buy a used vehicle from a wide variety of sources who offer an even wider range of guarantees on these used autos. Government should not require these same Hoosiers to buy new cars only from dealers but not directly from manufacturers.
As is always the case, most bills that were filed this year did not become law, and I wish to discuss two of these proposals.
SOGI Bill: I was among the very first legislators to oppose the concept of special rights based on Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity (SOGI) in Indiana. This measure would have taken religious freedom away from individual Hoosiers and made it apply only to certain groups. I am pleased to report the misguided SOGI attempt failed in the State Senate. I will oppose it again if it is reintroduced.
Heartbeat Bill: This year I was honored to be House author of the Heartbeat Bill, which would make abortion illegal once the unborn child has a detectable heartbeat. Every single day of the year, twenty-two unborn children die in Hoosier abortion clinics, and the Heartbeat Bill would save almost all of them. This bill did not get a hearing, but I will not rest until we end the slaughter of the unborn in Indiana.
Curt Nisly, State Representative