Many laws passed during the 2014 legislative session will take effect on July 1. These key reforms work to better protect our children, increase public safety, assist veterans and more. I encourage you and your family to stay informed about new policies and how they will affect you.
To help protect students with severe allergies, schools will be allowed to receive prescriptions for and administer devices like EpiPens that can reverse deadly allergic reactions in as little as five seconds.
Previously, students had to bring in EpiPens that were prescribed by a doctor, but many children experience their first allergic reaction while at school and are unprepared.
The risk for melanoma increases by 75 percent when the use of tanning devices begins before age 35. To lessen that risk, Hoosiers under the age of 16 will be prohibited from using a tanning bed in a tanning facility. Before, minors could tan if they were accompanied by a parent or guardian.
As more information becomes available about the dangers and long-term effects of concussions, new safety provisions are being implemented for youth athletics. Football coaches will be required to complete concussion and safety training at least once every two years. Additionally, youth athletes that are removed from play because of a suspected head injury or concussion will not be allowed to return to play for at least 24 hours.
In light of rising gun violence, higher penalties will take effect for firearm crimes. Knowingly supplying a firearm to someone who is legally ineligible to own one or who intends to commit a crime will change from a misdemeanor to a felony. Also, violent offenders who use a firearm to commit a crime could be given a sentence enhancement of up to 20 years.
To help protect consumers from scammers and robo-callers, telemarketers will no longer be able to sell or give phone numbers to another company.
*Protecting our privacy
Defending our right to privacy is critical, especially as modern technology poses threats to it. New limits will be placed on the use of tracking devices, surveillance cameras and drones to ensure that government entities and law enforcement respect Hoosiers' privacy. Also, police will not be allowed to search cell phone data without a warrant or unless there is probable cause to believe the device was used to commit a crime.
The unemployment rate of post-911 veterans is more than twice as high as the state unemployment rate. To help remove barriers to work for these Hoosier heroes, it will now be illegal for an employer to refuse to hire an applicant because of their status as a U.S. military veteran, National Guard member or reservist.
To encourage veterans to further their education, they will now be eligible to receive college credit for certain courses and tests they took during their military service.
It is my hope these new laws will improve the lives of Hoosiers. You can view a summary of all new laws on my website at www.IndianaSenate Republicans.com/Long by clicking on "Publications."