Lawmakers highlight new Indiana lawsJuly 6, 2021
By Herald Staff
State Reps. Stephen Bartels, R-Eckerty, and Shane Lindauer, R-Jasper, said Hoosiers should be aware of several new state laws, effective July 1, including the new state budget and those supporting law enforcement, helping small businesses and protecting in-person worship.
"Even with the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, Indiana continues to move forward and invest in the future," Lindauer said. "Indiana families, teachers and small businesses will all benefit from fiscal policies that put Hoosiers first."
Bartels and Lindauer highlighted several new and notable laws:
Funding Hoosier Priorities
Indiana's next two-year, $37 billion state budget reduces taxpayer-funded debt by over $1 billion, and provides opportunities for future tax cuts and reforms. House Enrolled Act 1001 funds critical government services and proven programs while making historic investments in K-12 education, broadband and economic development. K-12 education will receive a $1.9 billion increase in funding over the next two years, including $600 million to boost teacher pay, which exceeds the Next Level Teacher Compensation Commission's funding recommendations to make teacher pay more competitive.
"Indiana is in great shape due to remaining fiscally responsible and conservative," Bartels said. "Even while making historic investments in education, we reduced our state's debt. With these additional dollars, more schools are in a strong position to increase teacher pay."
Supporting Law Enforcement
Indiana directed $70 million to improve law enforcement training facilities and programs. Departments can apply for grants to purchase car and body-worn cameras. House Enrolled Act 1006 received bipartisan support and total backing from law enforcement to give police more tools to vet candidates and hire the best officers.
"Working together with law enforcement, legislators passed a new law boosting accountability and transparency in policing while giving our officers the tools they need to protect our communities," Bartels said. "With the state budget, we are also supporting training facility upgrades benefiting police departments throughout the state as they continue to keep all Hoosiers safe."
Protecting In-Person Worship
Senate Enrolled Act 263 defines religious gatherings as essential, and ensures the government cannot restrict the right to worship in-person during public emergencies. Other church services like food pantries, daycare or educational classes can also not be more restricted than other essential services. The governor also signed Senate Enrolled Act 202, which went into effect immediately, to require nursing homes, assisted living facilities and hospitals to participate in state programs guaranteeing caretakers' access to their loved ones during public emergencies.
"My faith is incredibly important to me, and I believe churches are vital to the social fabric of our communities," Lindauer said. "Their work is essential. Religious institutions feed the needy and provide support to grieving families. This law restricts government from closing their doors or limiting service capacities."
Helping Small Businesses
Effective since mid-April, Senate Enrolled Act 1 and House Enrolled Act 1002, which support employers and jobs by extending civil liability protections related to COVID-19 to employers, schools and health care entities. House Enrolled Act 1004 allows local employers impacted by the pandemic to apply for a Small Business Restart Grant to pay for a portion of business and payroll-related expenses. Hoosier employers can learn more and apply at backontrack.in.gov.
Visit iga.in.gov for more information on these and other new laws.
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