Engleman: Changes support Hoosier teachers, patients, crime victims, rural communities
With many new laws effective this month, State Rep. Karen Engleman, R-Georgetown, said several important changes support Hoosier teachers, patients, crime victims and rural communities.
“This was another productive year at the Statehouse, with changes in our laws to help area schools, farmers and community,” Engleman said. “We want to empower Hoosiers and give them the tools they need to continue succeeding and living fulfilling lives. I look forward to building off of these strong policies and helping our state thrive.”
Here’s a look at notable new laws Engleman said Hoosiers should know about:
Teachers, Students and Schools
Engleman said as part of House Enrolled Act 1002, standardized test scores will no longer be required to be a part of teacher performance evaluations. She said this should reduce the pressure educators often feel to teach to the test and, as a result, make teaching more attractive as a career. To help cut red tape, House Enrolled Act 1003 went into effect earlier this year to allow the State Board of Education to streamline the timing and frequency of required teacher trainings and grant waivers for schools to bypass more than 1,500 regulations. As Indiana continues to transition to the new ILEARN exam, lawmakers passed Senate Enrolled Act 2 so that school accountability grades cannot be negatively impacted by student scores for two years.
Engleman said House Enrolled Act 1283 supports students with mental health issues, including those involved in bullying, and experiencing behavioral problems or physical illnesses. The new law ensures aspiring educators receive training on best practices to recognize students’ behavioral reactions to trauma so they can address these issues in their classrooms with increased understanding and insight.
Under House Enrolled Act 1004, patients will be protected from receiving surprise medical bills from out-of-network providers, and, in the case of an elective procedure, the patient will have the right to receive an upfront, good-faith estimate of expected charges. In addition, Senate Enrolled Act 5 requires hospitals, outpatient surgery centers and urgent care clinics to publish their average prices online, and Engleman said a new HIPAA-compliant database of all health insurance claims will empower consumers by providing information about cost and quality.
Engleman sponsored Senate Enrolled Act 424 to expand Indiana’s address confidentially program to survivors of harassment, human trafficking, intimidation and invasion of privacy. The address confidentially program already helps survivors of domestic violence, sexual assault and stalking by keeping their addresses confidential for safety reasons. Through this free program, mail is sent to a secure substitute address.
Farmers and Rural Communities
Senate Enrolled Act 184 allows the Indiana Farm Bureau to offer a health benefits plan to its members. Engleman said this plan is not health insurance, but would provide similar benefits to help many farmers who have limited access to affordable health care options. Other states, such as Kansas and Tennessee, have implemented similar programs through their Farm Bureaus.
To support rural communities, House Enrolled Act 1370 allows cities and towns to band together and enter into regional land banks to acquire tax-delinquent and blighted properties to restore them.
For more information about these and other new laws effective July 1, visit iga.in.gov.