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10 cent fuel tax hike among new Indiana laws taking effect

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By BRIAN SLODYSKO, 

Associated Press

INDIANAPOLIS (AP) Indiana's gasoline taxes are going up 10 cents a gallon. Children are being required to wear helmets when using off-road vehicles. And those who use drones for nefarious, sexual purposes could be charged with a crime.

Those are just a few of the new Indiana laws that took effect on Saturday.

The Republican-dominated Legislature considered well over a thousand bills during this year's legislative session and GOP Gov. Eric Holcomb signed 271 into law, according to his spokeswoman, Stephanie Wilson.

Some had "emergency" clauses and took effect right away, while others won't phase in until next year or beyond. But many, from minor policy tweaks to substantial changes, started Saturday. Here's a look at some:

FEES AND TAXES

Lawmakers passed measures to raise money for infrastructure improvements. As a result, the state will now collect 28 cents a gallon total from the gas tax, which was last increased in 2002. Many motorists will also be on the hook for a new $15 licensing fee. Electric vehicle owners will have to pay more a $150 fee. Hybrid drivers will pay a $50 fee.

Those are just a smattering of the more than 45 fees different taxes and fees lawmakers decided to impose or increase this year. They will affect the cost of everything from notary services (an increase of up to $10), to teacher background checks (a cost of $30 to $40 every five years), occupational licensing (between $10 and $400) and college student vaccinations for meningitis (between $100 and $150), according to The (Northwest Indiana) Times.

MEDICINE FROM MARIJUANA

Indiana is joining a majority of states by allowing people with certain kinds of epilepsy to use a low-THC form of medical marijuana that can't get a person high.

A recent study by the New England Journal of Medicine found that the medicine a liquid form of cannabidiol often referred to as CBD oil cuts seizures in kids with a severe form of epilepsy.
Supporters, including Holcomb, say the new law is about compassion. But many in the Legislature remain doubtful and are wary of any law that could open the door to legalizing recreational or full-scale medical marijuana.

HELMETS

Anyone under the age of 18 could receive an infraction for riding or operating an off-road vehicle without a helmet, under a law sponsored by Republican Rep. Lloyd Arnold, of Leavenworth. The law also prohibits an owner of an off-road vehicle from allowing a minor to ride without a helmet.

"Helmets can save lives," Arnold said after a ceremonial bill signing event in June. His office says fatalities tied to off-road vehicle accidents have risen over the past three years, with 22 last year. Of those, only three of the people were wearing helmets.

PEEPING DRONES

A new law sponsored by state Sen. Eric Koch bans the use of aerial drones for voyeurism.

The "remote aerial voyeurism" measure specifically targets those with nefarious intentions who use drones to invade people's privacy or capture images of them in compromising positons.
Indiana is joining at least three other states that similarly regulate the technology to address "peeping Tom" activities.

Koch, a Bedford Republican, said he wanted the state to get in front of technology and create "some rules of the road." The law also bars people from using drones to interfere with public safety officials or to harass someone.

DOMESTIC VIOLENCE

Those who take out an order of protection will be allowed to carry a handgun without a license for a period of 60 days. The law also allows someone with a protective order to carry a handgun without out a license for a period of 60 days once they apply for a license.

Proponents of the law say it will empower victims of domestic abuse by allowing them to arm themselves. Critics contend that many victims of gun violence are harmed with their own weapons. The bill also requires the state police to expedite the process of issuing a handgun license to someone who has a protective order.

"These victims don't have 60 days to wait for a piece of paper to arrive in the mail," said the measure's sponsor, Republican Rep. Sean Eberhart, of Shelbyville.

Find House Enrolled Acts 1002, 1148, 1200 and Senate Enrolled Acts 299 and 43 online at: https://iga.in.gov/
 

Posted 7/3/2017

 
 
 
 

 

 

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