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215 new state laws for 2019 now in effect

Crusader Staff Report

Some 215 new state laws in Indiana went into effect to kick off the new year. Governor Eric Holcomb and the Republican-controlled Indiana House and Senate voted during the regular legislative session, which ran between January 3 and March 14, and at a May 14 special session.

Last year, several “emergency” laws, such as Sunday retail alcohol sales, took effect immediately,

Here’s a look at some of the laws that took effect on January 1, 2019.

Drug dealing

A person convicted of drug dealing that results in the death of a user is eligible for a prison term of between 20 and 40 years. Only murder is punished more severely in Indiana. (House Enrolled Act 1359)

Day care

State officials can immediately shut down any licensed day care facility, home or ministry if weapons of any kind are found in a place that is accessible to children. This law was inspired by a 2017 dangerous day care incident in Merrillville reported in The Times. (House Enrolled Act 1073)

School safety

Five million dollars in additional state funding is provided for secured school safety grants. Schools also are authorized to obtain low-interest state loans to pay for safety improvements. The Department of Education is required to conduct regular audits of public school safety plans. School employees can block exit doors for up to three minutes following an unplanned fire alarm to check for an active shooter. (HEA 1230)

Public records

Governments that maintain public records in an electronic format must provide the record electronically to any person who requests a copy. The requester also can have the electronic record provided on paper. (Senate Enrolled Act 392)

Support animals

Apartment complexes and individual landlords who own more than three rental properties cannot charge pet rent or any extra fee to a tenant who has been prescribed an emotional support animal by a licensed medical caregiver. (Senate Enrolled Act 240)


Purchasing, renting, leasing or licensing computer software that is delivered electronically is classified as a service and the transaction is not subject to Indiana’s 7 percent sales tax. According to numerous business owners, state law previously was unclear whether software obtained online was an untaxed service or a taxable product. (Senate Enrolled Act 257)

Sex education

Parents of elementary and high school students must be provided an opportunity to inspect all instructional material concerning human sexuality, and given the option of keeping their child from attending sex education courses. (Senate Enrolled Act 65)

Active duty

National Guard members from Indiana or an adjoining state who attend an Indiana public university are entitled to a tuition refund or credit and guaranteed re-enrollment if called to active duty during an academic term. (HEA 1047)

Carbon monoxide testing

Firefighters are authorized to provide free carbon monoxide testing of the interior of any vehicle to ensure there are no exhaust system leaks that threaten the health or life of a motorist. (SEA 100)

Fetal crimes

A fetus at any stage of development is recognized as an individual separate from its mother if her pregnancy is terminated due to a violent crime or drunken driving. Previously, a fetus had to attain viability, or roughly 24 weeks gestation, for a person to be charged with causing its death. The law does not apply to legal abortions or women who terminate their own pregnancies. (Senate Enrolled Act 203)

Health consent

Adults who are unable to consent to health treatments, and have not appointed a health care representative, will have their care decided by whoever ranks highest in the following priority order: court-appointed guard- ian; spouse; adult child; parent; adult sibling; grandparent; adult grandchild; nearest other adult relative; or long-established friend.

Safe sleep

Day care providers who take care of children less than 12 months old are required to be trained in safe sleep guidelines. Repeated failure to follow the guidelines can result in fines or loss of operating license. (Senate Enrolled Act 187)

Maternal mortality

The State Department of Health is charged with reviewing the deaths of all Indiana women who don’t survive childbirth. The agency also must identify ways of reducing maternal mortality. (Senate Enrolled Act 142)

Suicide prevention

Teachers, school employees and emergency medical technicians must regularly be trained in suicide awareness and prevention. (Senate Enrolled Act 230)

Treatment after abortions

Doctors and hospitals are required to compile and submit a detailed report every time a woman seeks treatment for a physical or psychological condition that is in any way connected to a past abortion. Failing to submit an “abortion complications” report is a Class B misdemeanor, punishable by up to six months in jail and a $1,000 fine, for each instance of noncompliance. (Senate Enrolled Act 340)

South Shore Line financing

A process is established for the state to finance the double tracking of the existing South Shore commuter rail line between Gary and Michigan City, as well as the West Lake expansion between Hammond and Dyer. The Indiana Finance Authority, Northwest Indiana Regional Development Authority and the Northern Indiana Commuter Transportation District are designated as the entities responsible for construction, leasing and ownership of the rail projects. (House Enrolled Act 1374)

Opioid treatment

Over the next three years, the number of opioid treatment facilities in the state are scheduled to grow to 27 from 18, so that no Hoosier is more than an hour’s drive from a drug treatment center. (House Enrolled Act 1007)

Sexual harassment training

Members of the General Assembly are required to annually participate in at least one hour of sexual harassment training, in addition to mandatory ethics training. (House Enrolled Act 1309)


A loophole is closed that previously prevented motorists under age 21 from being convicted of drunk driving resulting in death. (Senate Enrolled Act 404)

Baby boxes

Fire stations staffed 24 hours a day are permitted to install “baby boxes” for individuals to anonymously give up permanent custody of an infant that’s less than 30 days old. (Senate Enrolled Act 340)

Criminal justice

Individuals charged with certain misdemeanor crimes may have the opportunity to participate in a drug addiction pilot program, similar to the addiction treatment provided to felons. In addition, the Indiana Judicial Center officially becomes the Indiana Office of Judicial Administration. (House Enrolled Act 100)

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