INDIANAPOLIS – In March, Indiana lawmakers wrapped up the 2023 legislative session.
Many of the laws passed during the session will go into effect on July 1 after being signed by Gov. Eric Holcomb.
Here’s a look at some of them.
Work zone speed cameras
With House Enrolled Act 1015, lawmakers approved a pilot program for speed cameras in active work zones. Holcomb received the bill on April 26 and signed it into law on May 1.
The measure is intended to curb speeding in road construction sites. The law authorizes Indiana State Police to contract with a third-party vendor to establish the pilot program, which will use an automated system to capture speeds and take pictures of license plates.
The pilot program is limited to four speed control systems.
Drivers won’t be assessed with a violation unless they’re at least 11 mph over the established speed limit in an active work zone. The first violation will result in a warning, according to the law, while the second violation will result in a $75 fine. Additional violations would result in a $150 fine.
“Buffer zone” for police
HEA 1186, signed by the governor on April 20, establishes a 25-foot “buffer zone” for police investigations. Under the measure, anyone who “knowingly or intentionally” approaches within 25 feet of a police officer after being ordered to stop is subject to a Class C misdemeanor.
The law classifies an “emergency incident area” as being “defined by police or firefighters with flags, barricades, barrier tape or other markers.” It spans either 25 feet in “all directions from the perimeter of the emergency incident” or 25 feet in all directions “from the perimeter of the emergency incident that is articulated by a law enforcement officer.”
Minors and bar seating
HEA 1200 allows children in bar areas, as long as they’re accompanied by a parent or guardian of drinking age. While children can’t sit at the actual bar, they’re allowed to enter the bar area and sit at tables nearby.
“The minor, accompanied by the parent, guardian, or family member who is twenty-one (21) years of age or older, must be seated at a table or booth in the bar area and shall not be seated at the bar over which alcoholic beverages are served,” according to the law’s language.
Minors must be accompanied by a parent, guardian or family member who is 21 or over. The amendment extended the privilege, previously allowed for minors 18 to 20, to include all minors as long as they’re seated for the express purpose of eating food.
Access to birth control
HEA 1568 allows adults seeking birth control to get a prescription written and filled by a pharmacist.
Pharmacists must undergo certain training in order to prescribe contraceptives and provide the patient with a self-screening risk assessment tool. They can advise the patient to consult with a primary care practitioner or a women’s health care practitioner.
The contraceptive can’t be prescribed for more than six months at a time. After a 12-month period, pharmacists can’t fill the prescription unless the woman has been seen by a doctor, nurse or physician’s assistant within the last year.
Pharmacists aren’t required to prescribe a contraceptive if they object “on ethical, moral, or religious grounds.”
Food delivery apps
HEA 1279 prevents third-party food delivery apps from taking information from restaurants and making orders without their consent.
The law requires the apps to receive permission from a restaurant instead of taking orders on their behalf without their knowledge.
Should an app not have an agreement with a certain restaurant, it must remove its menu and cease offering delivery orders from the establishment. Holcomb signed the bill into law on May 1.
Bullying and “TB3”
HEA 1483 passed in the House in February. It stalled in the Senate during the legislative session, however, until tragedy struck.
In March, Terry Badger III took his own life at the age of 13 after enduring bullying at Covington Middle School. His parents went public with their son’s struggle, leading to national outrage over his death. His parents said they reported bullying to the district and don’t believe the school corporation did enough to protect him.
The tragedy galvanized support for the House’s anti-bullying measure, which passed in the Senate on April 27. Holcomb signed it on May 4.
Known as TB3, Terry’s nickname, the law requires school districts to report bullying incidents to the parents of the victim and the perpetrators. Schools must prioritize the safety of the victim and can transfer students to another school or district based on the severity of the bullying.
Banning books at school libraries
HEA 1447, signed by Holcomb on May 4, requires schools to have a process for people to contest books in the school library on the grounds that they are obscene or harmful to minors. Schools are required to publish a list of available materials on their website and make it available as a hard copy upon request.
Schools are forbidden from having materials containing obscene matter or matter harmful to minors as defined by Indiana law.
School instruction, student name changes
HEA 1608 bars school personnel or third-party vendors from providing instruction on human sexuality to students in pre-kindergarten through third grade.
The law, signed by Holcomb on May 4, also requires schools to notify parents in writing if a student asks to change their name or pronoun. That notification must come no later than five days after a school receives the request from the minor.
SEA 480 seeks to ban gender-transitioning care for Hoosiers under the age of 18. It covers puberty blockers, hormones and surgeries. Holcomb signed it on April 5.
The law was set to go into effect on July 1, but a federal judge issued a preliminary injunction against it on June 16. The ruling prevents the state from enforcing prohibitions on medical interventions like puberty blockers or hormone replacement therapies.
The judge, however, upheld the ban on surgical procedures, which Statehouse testimony indicated are not provided to minors in Indiana. The ACLU of Indiana filed the lawsuit seeking to block the law on behalf of four transgender patients and a doctor.
AEDs and “Jake’s Law”
SEA 369 requires that “school coaches, assistant coaches, marching band leaders, drama and musical leaders, and extracurricular activity leaders” have an operational automated external defibrillator (AED) present at events in which students face an increased risk of sudden cardiac arrest.
The measure requires drills and training, along with proper maintenance of the devices. Schools also have to develop a venue-specific emergency plan for deploying the AEDs.
The law is known as “Jake’s Law” in honor of Jake West, who died in 2013 after experiencing sudden cardiac arrest during a football practice in LaPorte. Holcomb signed it on May 4.
Gas tax increase extended
Lawmakers extended the increase in the state’s gas tax for another three years, keeping the one cent raise in effect through 2027. It had been set to expire in 2024.
Lawmakers initially raised the gas tax by 10 cents in 2017 to pay for road projects, with the tax increasing by a cent each year to keep up with inflation.
The tax will go up from 33 cents a gallon to 34 cents a gallon on July 1. Lawmakers included the extension in a provision for the state budget.
Machine gun switches
HEA 1365 outlaws devices, often called “auto sears” or “switches,” that convert handguns or rifles into machine guns. The law expands the state’s definition of a machine gun to include these conversion devices. Possession of one constitutes a Level 5 felony carrying a sentence between 1 and 6 years.
The law went into effect immediately when Holcomb signed it on April 20.