Indiana General Assembly Approves More Than 300 New Laws

The Indiana General Assembly has approved just under 300 new laws this year, many of which became effective July 1. The new state laws impact a variety of issues, including the budget, roads and infrastructure, education funding, Medicaid expansion, and several others.

Some of the laws passed regarding education include House Enrolled Act 1003, which extends vouchers to any student who lives in an attendance zone with a failing school or has a sibling already participating in the program. In addition, the legislation permanently lifts the cap on the number of vouchers and increases eligibility to those earning up to 200 percent of the federal poverty level. HEA 1003 amends the definition of voucher to require an individual or sibling of the individual to receive a scholarship granting organization of at least $800 in a prior school year as well as meet 150 percent of free and reduced lunch program income requirement.

House Enrolled Act 1427 delays the adoption of Common Core standards and tests while the State Board of Education considers a report from a summer legislative study committee charged with reviewing the standards, and a report from the state office of Management and Budget on the costs to the state and school corporations of implementing the standards. Currently, first grade and kindergarten are already administering Common Core.

Senate Enrolled Act 1, co-authored by Senator Jim Arnold in an effort to improve student safety, requires that a school resource officer, often a former or active police officer, receive 40 hours of special training to work in a school environment. The officers will be charged with keeping the school secure, as well as helping to educate and counsel the students on a daily basis. Included in the new law is a provision that makes it an option for schools to hire a school resource officer.

HEA 1423 provides a clearer definition of bullying and clarifies how schools must address bullying incidents through the implementation of prevention programs and increased accountability procedures.

These are only a few of the laws passed this year. For a full list, click here [] or visit the governor’s Bill Watch page. []