Chesterton Tribune



Tallian bills signed into state law

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State Senator Karen Tallian, D-Ogden Dunes, proposed several bills during the legislative session that were approved by the Indiana General Assembly and signed into law by the governor.

Most new laws become effective today. Tallianís initiatives address a variety of issues, including education, workers compensation, pensions, and agriculture, including:

*  Senate Enrolled Act (SEA) 207, co-authored by Tallian, pertains to school operating referendum ballot language. The act changes the language to be used on the ballot when a school corporation conducts a school general fund referendum. The act provides that the county election board must either approve or revise the proposed ballot language. Among other provisions, the act provides that if a majority of the voters do not vote in favor of a school general fund referendum, another referendum under the law may not be held for another 350 days.

*  SEA 330, co-authored by Tallian, requires the Commission for Higher Learning to distribute up to 50 percent of its allocated funds toward grants for part-time college students. Eligible students are those who are financially independent from their parents and are currently pursuing degrees for high-wage, high-demand jobs. SEA 330 also allows teachers in science, math, engineering, technology or special education to receive loan reimbursements, if they meet certain qualifications. Eligible candidates include those who graduated in the top 20 percent of their high school class and on the SAT or ACT, and have attained a minimum GPA of 3.5 during their college education. Among other provisions, the act also requires the State Workforce Innovation Council to allocate funding for adult and dislocated worker training for performance-funding training that leads to high demand jobs.

*  SEA 294, co-authored by Tallian, changes the workerís compensation and occupational diseases law by providing that a medical service provider cannot be reimbursed for more than one office visit for each repackaged legend drug prescribed, and the maximum period during which the reimbursement may take place begins on the date of the injury and ends eight days later. The act also amends the definition of a medical service provider to exclude a medical case manager or another individual who assists in the planning, coordination, monitoring, or evaluation of medical services provided to an employee. The act provides that any payments to medical service providers for implants may not exceed the amount of actual acquisition cost from the implant manufacturer to the medical service provider plus 25 percent. That cost must be reduced by the amount for any financial incentive that the medical service facility receives or benefits from in connection to the implant.

*  HEA 1075, co-sponsored by Tallian, which applies to public pensions. The act provides that the Board of Trustees of the Indiana Public Retirement System may not, before Jan. 1, 2017, enter into an agreement with a third party provider to provide annuities to retiring and retired members of the Public Employeesí Retirement Fund (PERF) and the Teachersí Retirement Fund (TRF). The act specifies the interest rate used to determine the annuity amount is: (1) 5.75 percent, after Sept. 30, 2014, and before Oct. 1, 2015 and (2) the greater of: (A) the interest rate for similar annuities being purchased in the private market as determined by the board; or (B) 4.5 percent; after Sept. 30, 2015, and before Jan. 1, 2017.

*  SB 143, co-authored by Tallian, which aids school corporations with debt restructuring, was amended into HEA 1062. The act permits a school corporation that experiences at least a 10 percent loss to the school corporationís transportation fund due to circuit breaker credits in 2014, 2015, or 2016 to use a proportional circuit breaker credit allocation for that year. In addition, the act permits a school corporation that experiences at least a 20 percent loss to the school corporationís levies due to circuit breaker credits to use debt restructuring by adopting a resolution before January 1, 2019.

*  SEA 357, co-authored by Tallian, provides for the legalization of industrial hemp production in Indiana. Subject to federal approval, SEA 357 would authorize the State Seed Commissioner to license the cultivation and production of industrial hemp in Indiana. Although related to marijuana, hemp does not contain the same intoxicating qualities. Today, hemp is a multipurpose crop that can be used to make food, paper, fuel, beauty products, textiles, building materials, plastics and some medicines. However, it is expensive because it must be imported from other countries. Passage of this act will allow Indiana to move quickly to promote the growth and marketing of this product.



Posted 7/1/2014