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New laws taking effect Jan. 1 in Indiana

The Evening News and The Tribune - 12/31/2019

Dec. 31--INDIANA -- Although the bulk of the laws passed in the 2019 Indiana legislative session went into effect July 1, a few still won't be effective until Jan. 1. Here are some standouts affecting education, veterans issues and other matters.

EDUCATION

--Public Law 268 (Indiana House Bill 1628) -- Clarifies some language related to the pre-Kindergarten test pilot program, expanding its definitions of an eligible and limited eligibility child.

In both cases, the child must be between 4 and 5 years old and live in Indiana. For a child to be eligible for the program, he or she must also live in a household that has an annual income less than 127 percent of the federal poverty line. The limited eligibility child cannot live in a household that earns more than 185 percent of the federal poverty level and must live with a parent who is working or attending job training, is actively seeking employment or received Social Security disability insurance or supplemental security income benefits.

VETERANS

--Public Law 234 (Indiana House Enrolled Act 1053) -- Details how disabled veterans' license plates should be designed in Indiana. Starting Jan. 1, all such plates should read "Disabled Hoosier Veteran" at the bottom, with a wheelchair symbol indicating that the person has a disability. An emblem of the branch of service the veteran served in will also adorn the plate.

--Public Law 82 (Indiana House Enrolled Act 1268) -- Aims to better track the status of veterans in Indiana, through the Bureau of Motor Vehicles. Applicants for an Indiana drivers license or identification card will be asked two optional questions: "Have you served in the Armed Forces of the United States?" and "Are you the surviving spouse of someone who served in the Armed Forces of the United States or their Reserves, in the National Guard or in the Indiana National Guard?"

The answers to these questions will help the Indiana Department of Veterans Affairs to develop outreach programs for veterans and their families.

ELECTION AUDITS

--Public Law 34 (Indiana Senate Enrolled Act 405) -- Allows for the secretary of state to select multiple counties to participate in a risk-limiting audit, to ensure election protocols are followed properly. It's designed to "limit to acceptable levels the risk of certifying a preliminary election outcome that constitutes an incorrect outcome," according to the law.

The procedure audit will look at factors such as the proper use of voter registration and other forms, compliance with state and federal requirements, and proper use and operation of electronic poll books, absentee and provisional ballots.

ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT

--Public Law 158 (Indiana Senate Enrolled Act 563) -- Establishes the Indiana Small Business Innovation Voucher Program, which allows funding for small businesses to partner with accredited colleges, universities or other institutions of higher education on research systems to improve innovation within the business.

This research could include research and development, technology exploration, technical development, product development and commercialization intended to foster innovation in an eligible small business," according to the new law. For a business to be eligible, it must do most business within Indiana, have 150 or fewer employees, and go through an application process.

-- For the full list of laws passed in 2019 by the Indiana Legislature, including those which into effect in July, visit www.in.gov/gov/2019billwatch.htm.

Aprile Rickert is the crime and courts reporter at the News and Tribune. Contact her via email at aprile.rickert@newsandtribune.com or by phone at 812-206-2115. Follow her on Twitter: @Aperoll27.

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