Many others begin in January
Indiana is getting a wave of new laws today. Many of the laws that legislators approved back in the spring take effect today, others won't take effect till January.
Sports betting was approved by Indiana lawmakers as part of a sweeping gaming bill this year. Starting July 1, casino operators can apply for a sports betting license to the Indiana Gaming Commission.
However, sports betting at casino sites or on mobile devices won’t be available until September 1 at the earliest. Last month, the executive director of the Indiana Gaming Commission said that the agency could not promise that the state will be ready for sports betting by then due to unforeseen delays in preparing licensing for operators.
The law allows betting of professional and college sports, but not high school athletics.
The law also moves up the date for the introduction of live table games at horsetrack racinos in Anderson and Shelbyville and allows a casino to be built in Terre Haute if voters in Vigo County approve.
Tax changes intended to aid casinos in Lawrenceburg and Rising Sun are not to go into effect until 2021. The tax revenue implications for the host communities is not good and local state lawmakers have vowed to fight against them before they go into effect.
School Bus Safety
Motorists who ignore school bus stop arms will face harsher punishment. A driver who injures or kills a person while ignoring a bus stop arm will be charged with a level 6 felony. Previously, such a violation was only a class A misdemeanor.
A judge will be able to suspend a driver’s license for 90 days if they pass a school bus with its stop arm engaged.
Motivating lawmakers to pass the law were the deaths of three siblings who were killed at their school bus stop in Fulton County last October.
One of the most-watched bills during the 2019 legislative session dealt with expanding the list of characteristics under the state’s hate crimes law. Judges can hand down longer sentences for crimes motivated by an offender’s bias against a victim based on their race, religion, national origin, disability, or sexual orientation.
Lawmakers, however, did not include explicit coverage of a victim’s age, sex, or gender identity.
Civics Test For High Schoolers
Starting in the 2019-2020 school year, Indiana high schools are mandated to administer the U.S. naturalization test, the same test given to immigrants seeking to become legal U.S. citizens. Students don’t have to pass the test, but they must take it in order to receive their diploma. The law also requires students to undergo “ an enhanced study of the Holocaust.”
Anybody convicted of abusing an animal will be prohibited of owning or training a pet during their probation or parole.
Indiana farmers will be able to obtain a license to legally grow industrial hemp. However, they won’t be able to apply for that license until December.
Hemp, a plant closely resembling and related to marijuana, does not produce the mind-altering chemical THC. Recreational and medicinal marijuana remain illegal in Indiana.
Kentucky legalized hemp production a few years ago.
A new law prohibits the sharing of intimate pictures of another person without their consent. Victims of revenge porn can collect damages of up to $10,000, plus legal fees.
Wrongful Conviction Damages
From now on, people who are wrongfully convicted and incarcerated in Indiana will be eligible to receive $50,000 for each year behind bars once a conviction is vacated.