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A rundown of Indiana's new laws now in effect

Most of the legislation passed in the 2019 General Assembly goes into effect July 1, including many bills News 18 has been following.

Posted: Jul 1, 2019 6:58 AM

INDIANAPOLIS (WLFI) — Most of the legislation passed in the 2019 General Assembly goes into effect July 1, including many bills News 18 has been following. Here's the changes you need to know:

School Bus Stop Arm

The school bus stop arm bill will create stronger punishments for people who violate school bus stop arms.

News 18 has been covering the process of this bill since December of last year. That's when State Senator Randy Head first talked about his plans to sponsor the bill.

The new law comes after three siblings were killed last October in Fulton County. The children were crossing a two-lane road to board a school bus. The bus had stopped and lowered its stop arm. All three were struck by a pickup truck. Another child was also hit by the truck and survived.

Under the new law, if someone is injured or killed, the crime will be a level six felony. Before, it was a Class A misdemeanor for anyone who recklessly passes a school bus when its stop arm is extended if the action results in injury.

The new law also allows judges to suspend a driver's license for 90 days for passing a school bus with its stop arm out.

Animal Cruelty

Another bill that's gotten a lot of the state chatting is Senate Bill 474, the animal abuse cruelty bill.

Before July 1, a person convicted of animal cruelty could go right back to any shelter or pet store and get a cat or dog as soon as they get out of jail.

This bill takes away the privilege of domestic pet ownership from convicted felons while they are on probation or parole. As News 18 previously reported, it was authored by Lafayette State Senator Ron Alting, and he quickly gained support. 

The bill passed unanimously from both the Indiana House of Representatives and the Indiana Senate.

Hate Crimes

Beginning Monday, Indiana has a hate crimes law.

The Hoosier state was one of five state without one before this law. The law will allow judges to impose longer sentences for crimes motivated by bias.

That includes mentions of color, creed, disability, national origin, race, religion and sexual orientation. However, this bill does not explicitly cover age, sex or gender identity.

Back in April, Gov. Holcomb told the senate he would sign it as soon as it reached his desk.

Revenge Porn

Monday the revenge porn law will take effect. It bans people from sharing intimate pictures of another person without their consent.

The law also allows the victim of such "non-consensual pornography" to collect damages up to $10,000.

High School Naturalization Test

Indiana high schools will have to administer the US naturalization test, as part of a mandatory government course that's given to immigrants hoping to become US citizens.

An initial plan had proposed that students had to pass the test to earn a high school diploma, but that plan was scrapped

Those against the act criticize placing an additional mandate on schools in Indiana. Senators who supported the act argue the test will make sure Indiana students get the civics knowledge they need.

Hemp Production Bill

A bill legalizing the production of hemp in the state of Indiana will go into effect Monday. 

Not everyone can grow a patch of hemp in their backyard. Anyone who grows hemp without a license will be growing illegal marijuana under the eyes of the law.

All state senators and representatives from the WLFI viewing area voted in favor of this bill. The bill was authored by State Senator Randy Head from District 18. The law will go into effect in July 2019.

Sports Betting

Sports betting is now legal in Indiana and construction of two new casinos will be allowed in the state under a bill. 

Sports betting is only allowed at casino sites, as some argued it would easily allow illegal wagering by minors. Senate sponsors pushed to allow sports wagering through smartphones, arguing that doing otherwise would be an unreasonable limit.

The Indianapolis-based NCAA rescinded its policy prohibiting championship events from being held in states that have legalized sports gambling. 

Indiana’s law will allow wagering on collegiate sports, but not on high school or youth sporting events.

Wrongfully Incarcerated Collection

Another new law includes allowing people who are wrongfully incarcerated be eligible to receive $50,000 for each year behind bars once a conviction is vacated due to innocence.

For an entire list of the bills, click here. 

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