New Indiana laws affect gas tax, abortion regulations

The 120th Indiana General Assembly and Governor Holcomb approved 271 bills during their 2017 legislative session, which ran from November 22, 2016 to April 22. 

The laws, which include an increase of the gas tax and an update to abortion regulations, went into effect on July 1, according to the Indiana Senate session summary. 

HEA 1002

The gas tax will increase 10 cents per gallon at the pump and registration fees will increase at the BMV to fund road and infrastructure improvements on state and local roads and bridges in Indiana. The funding will also allow the Indiana Department of Transportation to study the feasibility of tolling interstates in the future. 

HEA 1003

The Indiana Statewide Testing for Educational Progress Plus (ISTEP+) will be replaced after June 30, 2018 with a new assessment program called Indiana’s Learning Evaluation Assessment Readiness Network (ILEARN).

HEA 1004

Indiana’s state-funded preschool programs will expand to an additional 15 counties. Monroe County is among the counties that will be added to the On My Way Pre-K program. 

HEA 1005

The office of the State Superintendent of Public Instruction will no longer be publically elected starting on January 10, 2025. The governor will appoint a Secretary of Education instead.

HEA 1085

A person may legally use force to rescue a domestic animal from a car. They will be responsible for one-half of the cost to repair the damage inflicted on the car. However, they must have reasonable belief that the animal is in imminent danger; determine that the car is locked; call 911 or tries to contact a law enforcement officer; uses no more force than necessary; and remains with the animal until law enforcement can arrive. 

HEA 1104

This act bans the sale and purchase of fake urine. The act targets synthetic urine that might be used to assist a person in defrauding a drug screening.

HEA 1148

Cannabidiol will be legalized for the treatment of epilepsy. Individuals who have treatment-resistant epilepsy will be able to register on a cannabidiol registry, as maintained by the Department of Health. Cannabidiol is one of the 113 cannabinoids in marijuana.

HB 1438

Counties can now operate syringe exchange programs for up to two years. Previously, counties needed state approval creating syringe exchange programs.

SEA 154

Eligibility for the Supplemental Nutritional Assistance Program will be expanded. Previously, the asset limit was $2,250. That limit has been expanded to $5,000 in countable assets.

SEA 337

Indiana’s high schools will be required to offer the study of ethnic and racial groups as a one semester elective course in their history curricula.

SEA 404

Unemancipated pregnant minors’ parent or legal guardian must be notified by a judge that the minor is seeking an abortion. It is also now a Level 6 felony for a person to falsely claim to be the legal guardian of a pregnant minor to help them fulfill the parent notification.

SEA 423

Colleges and universities receiving state or federal funds may not enact any ordinances, resolutions, rules or policies that restricts the government or employees like law enforcement officers from obtaining information about the immigration status of an individual.

Emily Eckelbarger

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