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RELEASE: Arnold legislation to become law
Start Date: 3/17/2014 All Day
End Date: 3/17/2014
Entry Description

INDIANAPOLIS—State Senator Jim Arnold (D-LaPorte) proposed several bills during the recently adjourned legislative session that were approved by the General Assembly and are expected to be signed into law by the governor. Most new laws become effective July 1, 2014. Included in his legislative initiatives this session were bills to protect student athletes, military families, and reduce firearm violence.

Sen. Arnold co-authored legislation that has already been signed into law. Senate Enrolled Act (SEA) 352 gives priority to qualified service members and their dependents if they have not yet received grants through the Military Family Relief Fund (MFRF). MFRF provides assistance with food, shelter, medical services, utilities, child care, education, employment, and other essential expenses that are sometimes difficult for service members or their families to afford. SEA 352 also eliminates the provision that limits grant eligibility to three years after their active duty service ends.  Instead, the State Budget Agency will set a maximum dollar amount available to be dispersed between MFRF grants. In order to qualify for these grants, a military member must be an Indiana resident, a member of the Armed Forces or National Guard, and have served in Iraq or Afghanistan.

House Enrolled Act (HEA) 1141, co-sponsored by Sen. Arnold, requires disclosure in property sales of properties that were used for the manufacture of methamphetamines. HEA 1141 provides that the State Police maintain the methamphetamine laboratory web site, and that properties housing methamphetamine labs may not be placed on the web site until 180 days after being reported. State Police are not required to place a property on the website if it was decontaminated, and a property must be removed from the web site no longer than 90 days after it has been deemed decontaminated by an approved inspector. Any person responsible for damages done to the property due to manufacturing methamphetamines must pay restitution to the owner for actual damages, such as the costs of decontamination.

Sen. Arnold co-sponsored HEA 1290 requiring the Department of Education to distribute guidelines, information sheets, and forms to school corporations, charter schools, public schools, and accredited nonpublic schools to inform coaches, athletes, and their families on the nature and risk of sudden cardiac arrest. The act stipulates that every season, each student athlete must sign a form recognizing that they understand the information provided, and if a student is suspected of experiencing symptoms of a cardiac arrest, the student must be immediately removed from the activity. They can return to practice or play only after a parent or legal guardian has been informed and provides permission. All rules apply to higher education athletes as well, except that they must acquire the consent of an athletic trainer or physician after experiencing signs of cardiac arrest.

SEA 169, co-authored by Sen. Arnold, is focused on reducing firearm violence in Indiana by making it a Level 5 felony for a person to provide an individual with a firearm if the original owner knows that the purchaser intends to use it to commit a crime or is legally ineligible to possess a firearm. Under SEA 169, if the owner of a firearm contacts the National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS) for a background check and was given permission by NICS to provide the individual with the firearm prior to the exchange, then the original owner will be provided with a defense if the new owner commits a crime or is ineligible to possess a firearm.  In addition, the act provides that depending on the degree of the crime, the state will be allowed to seek a sentencing enhancement from five to 20 years if a firearm was used.

To enhance public safety on the road, Sen. Arnold sponsored HEA 1057 requiring the Indiana Department of Transportation (INDOT) to adopt rules that will create a distance regulation to maintain an unobstructed view of railroad crossings. Additionally, INDOT will be responsible for upholding safety measures in place at a public crossing, such as activated warning devices and federal railroad track classifications.

HEA 1301, sponsored by Sen. Arnold, creates the Office of State Building Commissioner who will be appointed by the Governor. The act provides that the State Building Commissioner will be responsible for issuing a written interpretation of a building law or fire safety law no later than 10 business days after the date of receiving the request. Another provision provides that a design release may be issued without a plan review, if the design release application is complete and the division does not choose the release for a plan review. The act further stipulates that if the division finds that a plan review reveals one or more state building or fire code violations, the division will be required to notify the preparer of the plans, the licensing agency and the project owner or contractor.

Sen. Arnold was also actively involved getting language inserted into a tax measure, HEA 1234 that will help LaPorte County schools. The provision provides that a school corporation with a majority of its property tax levies imposed in LaPorte County may, before September 1, 2014, transfer from the school corporation's debt service fund to the school corporation's rainy day fund a total amount equal to not more than 20% of the school corporation's 2014 certified debt service fund budget.

Sen. Arnold represents District 8 in the Indiana State Senate which encompasses the majority of LaPorte County including the City of LaPorte and the eastern part of Michigan City. It also includes western St. Joseph County and Davis, Oregon, Washington, Center and Jackson townships in Starke County.

For more information on Sen. Arnold, his legislative agenda or other State Senate business call 1-800-382-9467 or visit www.IN.gov/S8.

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NOTE: A photo of Sen. Jim Arnold can be downloaded at: http://www.in.gov/legislative/senate_democrats/images/headshots/Arnold.jpg

Contact Information:
Name: Elise Shrock
Phone: 317-232-9496
Email: elise.shrock@iga.in.gov
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Entry Type:
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Entry Category:
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  • IN.gov Category:
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  • Agency Name
    Senate Democratic Caucus

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