Indianapolis – Governor Mike Pence today signed House Enrolled Act (HEA) 1312, authored by Representative Douglas Gutwein (R – Francesville). HEA 1312 allows veteran-owned businesses to register directly with the State of Indiana instead of the federal government. This registration allows veteran-owned businesses to receive greater consideration during the state’s contracting and procurement process. The bill passed the House and Senate with unanimous and bipartisan support.
“Our Hoosier veterans have put their lives on the line to ensure our way of life,” said Governor Pence. “I sign these bills into law as a ‘thank you’ from all the people of Indiana for their service and sacrifice. Helping these men and women, who have selflessly served our state and nation, is a pillar of my administration. I’m pleased that in just a few short years, we have made Indiana even more veteran-friendly, and I thank members of the Indiana General Assembly for joining me in this endeavor.”
The Governor also signed the following bills into law regarding veteran and military matters:
- SEA 145 – This bill, authored by Sen. Jim Banks (R – Columbia City), Sen. Ryan Mishler (R – Bremen) and Sen. Erin Houchin (R – Salem), would require the Indiana Department of Veterans Affairs (IDVA) to work with Veteran Service Organizations to establish a set of standards for the unclaimed remains of deceased veterans. This bill allows for the proper burial of veterans with no family members.
- SEA 295 – This bill, authored by Sen. Jim Banks (R – Columbia City), Sen. Brandt Hershman (R – Buck Creek) and Sen. Jim Buck (R – Kokomo), expands the Military Family Relief Fund to all veterans. Currently, the fund is only open to those who served post 9/11. Language in the enrolled act also includes new criteria for eligibility (income, use of other funds, etc.). Additionally, the bill includes a requirement that a county veteran service officer sit on the Veterans Affairs Commission.
- HEA 1089 – This bill, authored by Rep. Randy Frye (R – Greensburg), assigns the topic of determining the duties, standards, and practices of veteran district service officers.
- SEA 362 – This bill, authored by Sen. Jim Banks (R – Columbia City) and Sen. Erin Houchin (R – Salem), extends the Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Acts guidelines to the state level, and now includes the military service for the National Guard regiment of another state. The bill also allows the military records of an individual to be released to a person with power of attorney, a court order, or a court appointed representative.
- HEA 1313 – This bill, authored by Rep. Peggy Mayfield (R – Martinsville), creates a definition of “Hoosier veteran” to recognize the military service of the individuals who do not meet the federal criteria to be recognized as a veteran.
- HEA 1359 – This bill, authored by Rep. Bob Morris (R – Fort Wayne), waives the maximum hiring age restrictions that apply to the appointment and hiring of police officers and firefighters for an individual who is a veteran of the armed forces.
- HEA 1373 – This bill, authored by Rep. Bruce Borders (R – Jasonville), extends employment protections to guard members who are called to active duty. Also extends the Medicaid eligibility of a service member (and the service member’s dependent) if they are called to active duty or deployed outside of the State of Indiana.
- SEA 154 – This bill, authored by Sen. Brent Steele (R – Bedford), Sen. Michael Crider (R – Greenfield) and Sen. Jim Arnold (D – LaPorte), increases from $4,000 to $8,000 the funeral allowance for a member of the Indiana National Guard who dies in the active service of the state.
- SEA 189 – This bill, authored by Sen. Dennis Kruse (R – Auburn) and Sen. Jim Banks (R – Columbia City), provides information concerning attendance records and academic progress for a student attending an adult high school who is a member of the military or children in military families must be submitted to the Department of Education by each school corporation and charter school.
- SEA 219 – This bill, authored by Sen. Sue Glick (R – LaGrange), Sen. Liz Brown (R – Fort Wayne) and Sen. Jim Buck (R – Kokomo), requires certain profession and occupation boards to adopt rules that establish procedures to expedite the issuance or renewal of a license, certificate, registration, or permit to a military spouse whose husband or wife is assigned to a duty station in Indiana.
- SEA 304 – This bill, authored by Sen. Luke Kenley (R – Noblesville), Sen. Travis Holdman (R – Markle) and Sen. Brandt Hershman (R – Buck Creek), increases the assessed value limit for the property tax deduction for certain veterans with a disability from $143,160 to $175,000.
- HEA 1187 – This bill, authored by Rep. Chuck Moseley (D – Portage), makes committing stolen valor, a Class A misdemeanor, for a person to knowingly or intentionally, with the intent to obtain money, property, or another benefit by fraudulently representing himself or herself to be an active member or veteran of the Armed Forces of the United States, using falsified military identification; or fraudulently claiming to be the recipient of certain military honors.
The Bill Watch page will be updated accordingly: http://in.gov/gov/2016billwatch.htm.