Chesterton Tribune

 

 

New Indiana laws on immunizing, records take effect

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INDIANAPOLIS (AP) - New Indiana laws taking effect Monday allow pharmacists to offer more immunizations and let people convicted of many felonies and misdemeanors to petition to have their record expunged if they haven’t re-offended in several years.

Lawmakers approved nearly 300 bills during 2013 General Assembly, and many of the new laws take effect July 1.

Pharmacists now are allowed to inoculate against pneumonia, tetanus, diphtheria, pertussis, HPV infections, and meningitis. It also lowers the age limit of those receiving vaccines from pharmacists to 11. They had been limited to flu and shingles vaccines in most cases.

"We have been looking at ways to expand access to immunizations in the state for several years,” Dr. Joan Duwve, chief medical officer for the Indiana State Department of Health, told The Journal Gazette.

The criminal record law means expunged convictions would no longer show up in public records. Some will be automatic, others are up to a judge’s discretion, and some need approval from prosecutors. The law could benefit tens of thousands of Indiana residents.

“The goal is to try to get them back into the workplace and eliminate this barrier,” said Larry Landis, executive director of the Indiana Public Defender Council. “It’s a stigma that needs to go away.”

Landis said he expects a rush to file petitions to expunge but he recommended people talk to a lawyer first: Petition errors could complicate the process.

Another new law allows the Indiana secretary of state to break a tie between the Republican and Democrat co-directors of the Indiana Election Division on budgeting or contract issues. Until now the co-directors needed to work out a compromise.

Rep. Kathy Richardson, R-Noblesville, offered the legislation.

“One person shouldn’t be able to just say no and stop the process,” she said. “You win the marbles, you should get to lead, Democrat or Republican.”

Richardson said county election offices already have one party controlling two votes out of three.

“They need to be able to function,” she said.

However, Trent Deckard, Democratic co-director of the Indiana Election Division, said the change removes the incentive for either party to work together on difficult issues. He said the new law likely will be used on sensitive issues such as when to remove names from the statewide voter registration system.

“This is a slippery slope toward everything being more one-party control,” Deckard said.

Indiana’s current secretary of state is Republican Connie Lawson.

Proof of insurance for motorists now can be provided in paper or electronic formats, including on smartphones, under another new law. At least 24 states already allowed both formats.

"In just two years policymakers in nearly half the country have changed their laws to enable consumers to use their smartphone to show they have insurance instead of keeping that little piece of paper in the glove compartment,” said Alex Hageli of the Property Casualty Insurance Association of America.”

Modeled after Amber Alerts that are issued when children are abducted, new Blue Alerts will go out when a police officer has been injured or killed. Information that could be relayed includes details on any escaping suspects.

“Anytime an officer is down or something happens we can use the network to get the information out quick to apprehend the offender,” said Tim Downs, president of the Indiana Fraternal Order of Police. “It will be a big asset.”

Sixteen other states have passed the alert into law.

 

 

Posted 7/1/2013