(Lawrenceburg, Ind.) - More than 230 new laws are set to take effect today in Indiana.
The state’s revised alcohol ID law will make some senior citizens happy. Lawmakers passed a law in 2010 requiring store clerks to ask for the ID of anyone buying alcohol, whether they appeared to be age 21 or 100. Now, clerks are only required to ID people who appear 40 or younger.
Texting While Driving
Another law makes it illegal for all drivers to send text messages or e-mails while driving. Indiana law previously only barred texting at the wheel for drivers under 18, with just five citations for all of last year statewide.
Drivers can still make phone calls while driving, in addition to surfing the web or playing games on their smart phones. Those activities are not explicitly noted in the law.
The new texting law carries a $500 fine for a first offense.
Another new law puts a statewide ban on the selling or possession of the product know as “Spice” or “K2.” The synthetic product which, when smoked, has similar effects to marijuana will now carry the same legal penalties at the real drug. Local municipalities around the state had been proactive on the issue since last year by enacting ordinances implementing fines on people or businesses who sold the substance.
Unemployment in Indiana will undergo some changes starting tomorrow. A new law will prevent anyone who works on-call or as-needed from collecting unemployment pay and also bars them from the assistance if they refuse work. Employees of companies with planned short-term shutdowns will also no longer be eligible for unemployment pay while the company is closed. Also being banned from receiving unemployment pay will be anyone who fails or refuses a drug test being given by an employer before hiring.
Protection of Gun Rights
Another new state law will prevent local governments from passing ordinances to block gun owners from carrying their weapons into most public buildings, though there are exceptions for courthouses, schools and hospitals. The gunholder must have a license.
Employers who perform work for state or federal government will be required to use the federal E-Verify system to check the citizenship status of employees before hiring. Business caught violating the law would become ineligible for state tax credits. Those who do use the system will avoid some tax penalties.
Physicians are required to tell a woman seeking an abortion that life begins at conception. A federal judge has put a stay on another part of the law that would have required doctors to say that a fetus can feel pain at 20 weeks. Women will also have to view an ultrasound of the fetus unless they decline to do so in writing.