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
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
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
“This is a slippery slope toward everything being more one-party control,”
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
Sixteen other states have passed the alert into law.