By the herald’s staff
State officials 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 budget for the state and those who support law enforcement, help small businesses, and worship people.
âEven with the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, Indiana continues to move forward and invest in the future,â Lindauer said. “Indiana families, teachers and small businesses will all benefit from tax policies that put Hoosiers first.”
Bartels and Lindauer highlighted several new and notable laws:
Funding Hoosier’s Priorities
Indiana’s $ 37 billion state budget for the next two years reduces taxpayer-funded debt by more than $ 1 billion and provides opportunities for tax cuts and future reforms. House Enrolled Act 1001 funds essential government services and proven programs while making historic investments in K-12 education, broadband and economic development. Kindergarten to Grade 12 education will receive an increase in funding of $ 1.9 billion over the next two years, including $ 600 million to increase teacher compensation, which exceeds the funding recommendations of the Next Level Teacher Compensation Commission to make teacher compensation more competitive.
âIndiana is in great shape because it remains financially responsible and conservative,â Bartels said. “Even by making historic investments in education, we have reduced our state’s debt. With these additional dollars, more schools are in a strong position to increase teacher compensation.”
Support law enforcement
Indiana has spent $ 70 million to improve law enforcement facilities and training programs. Departments can apply for grants to purchase car and body cameras. House Enrolled Act 1006 received bipartisan support and full backing from law enforcement to give police more tools to screen applicants and hire the best officers.
“Working with law enforcement, lawmakers have passed a new law strengthening the accountability and transparency of police services while giving our officers the tools they need to protect our communities,” Bartels said. “With the state budget, we are also supporting the modernization of training facilities for the benefit of police departments across the state as they continue to keep all Hoosiers safe.”
Protect the worship in person
The Senate Enrolled Act 263 defines religious gatherings as essential and ensures that the government cannot restrict the right to pray in person during a public emergency. Other religious services such as pantries, daycares or education classes cannot be more restricted than other essential services. The governor also signed Senate Bill 202, which came into effect immediately, to require nursing homes, assisted living facilities and hospitals to participate in public programs that ensure caregivers have access to loved ones in the event of public emergency.
âMy faith is incredibly important to me, and I believe churches are vital to the social fabric of our communities,â said Lindauer. “Their work is essential. Religious institutions feed the needy and provide support to grieving families. This law prevents the government from closing its doors or limiting service capacity.”
Help small businesses
In effect since mid-April, Senate Law 1 and House Law 1002 support employers and jobs by extending COVID-19 liability protections to employers, schools and healthcare entities . House Enrolled Act 1004 allows local employers affected 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.