The Indiana General Assembly approved 115 new laws this year, many of which will become effective July 1. The changes in state law taking place this summer impact a variety of issues, from alcohol sales to teens and “sexting.” Read on for a brief summary of new laws taking effect July 1, 2010.
To see a complete list of new laws enacted in 2010, visit http://www.in.gov/legislative.
Small business assistance: To promote the growth of Indiana’s small businesses, the state will assign a small business ombudsman within state government to provide assistance and help identify areas where regulatory burdens can be reduced for the state’s small business owners and operators. Senate Enrolled Act (SEA) 23 required the creation of the small business ombudsman’s office under the Indiana Economic Development Corporation.
Alcohol sales: Under SEA 75, sales clerks are now required to ask all patrons for photo identification to verify that the purchaser is over 21 years of age for the carry-out purchase of alcohol. The new law also allows Indiana’s microbreweries to sell their product for carryout on Sundays similar to the state’s wineries. Two other provisions of the law went into effect in March, including a change to allow alcohol sales on primary and general election days and extended hours for bars and restaurants to serve alcohol on Sundays.
Child support collections: Indiana’s riverboat casinos and horse racing facilities are now required to withhold cash winnings of those individuals who are delinquent in child support payments under SEA 163. The new law applies to those individuals who owe $2,000 or more and are at least three months late in child support payments.
Firearms at work: Although somewhat controversial, a new law prohibits employers from adopting or enforcing a policy that bans an employee from having a firearm at work if the weapon is kept in a locked vehicle and out of sight. There are numerous exceptions included in House Enrolled Act (HEA) 1065, including school property, child care facilities, domestic violence shelters, a person’s residence and public utilities. The law also prohibits the confiscation of lawfully held firearms during declared disaster emergencies.
GPS tracking for domestic violence offenders: A court can now require a defendant in a domestic violence case to wear a GPS tracking device as a condition of bail. Also new under the state’s domestic violence and neglect laws, sentencing requirements allow a court to order an offender to complete a batterer’s intervention program after conviction. The changes were approved under HEA 1234.
Dating violence: The Indiana Department of Education will begin to develop policies and materials to inform students and make them more aware of dating violence under SEA 316, approved this year. The new law is known as “Heather’s Law” for Heather Norris, an Indiana resident who was brutally murdered by her estranged high school boyfriend in 2007. The new law has drawn support from advocates against domestic violence, educators and law enforcement. See the earlier post and see photos from the governor’s signing ceremony for Heather’s Law>>
Teens and “sexting”: Lawmakers took steps to address the complicated legal issues surrounding “sexting” this year with the passage of SEA 224. Under the new law schools may now offer instruction on the risks and consequences of sending suggestive text messages, e-mails and other online messages. The Criminal Law and Sentencing Policy Study Committee, a bicameral legislative study committee that meets during the interim, will be examining potential penalties for teen sexting offenders and make recommendations to the next General Assembly.
Targeting meth producers: Pharmacies and other retailers selling drugs containing ephedrine or pseudoephedrine will now be required to post a sign warning customers of that the purchase of more than 3.6 grams of the substance within one day is a criminal offense in Indiana. The new law, HEA 1320, is intended to make customers aware of state laws restricting the drugs, which are commonly found in cold medications and are used in the production of methamphetamine.
Property tax provisional billings: For counties that anticipate delivering delayed property tax bills, state law now requires that a provisional spring tax bill be issued to taxpayers. According to the new law, HEA 1059, 50 percent of the previous year’s total tax liability would be due in the spring installment under a provisional tax bill. Fall tax bills would collect the remaining 50 percent of the previous year’s liability if the final amount is still not determined, or the remaining balance of the new tax bill.