In our recent legislative session, the Indiana General Assembly passed 293 bills that became laws. While a full list can be found online, I've highlighted several noteworthy new laws below that will go into effect today.

This session featured several bills focused on better protecting our children, including:

HEA 1001 and HEA 1006 - Will help the Indiana Department of Child Services hire more caseworkers and hotline staff, and allow judges to contact local DCS workers directly to report potential cases of abuse or neglect.

SEA 509 - Fixed a potential loophole in our human trafficking law to protect children up to18 years old.

Indiana's deep commitment to those who have served in our armed forces was reinforced with the following new laws:

SEA 177 - Allows for veterans returning from duty out of state or overseas to qualify for in-state tuition at Indiana's public colleges and universities.

SEA 115 - Creates the "combat to college" program, which will provide veterans attending state colleges and universities with centralized services specific to their needs.

SEA 564 - Expands state contracting opportunities for veteran-owned businesses. 

SEA 290 - Gives those who have been medically trained in the military an easier transition into emergency medical professions after they return to civilian life.

A few other laws that will take effect today include:

HEA 1151 - Creates the blue alert program to inform the public when a law enforcement officer is hurt, killed or missing in the line of duty.

SEA 559 - Prevents the use of welfare debit cards at adult businesses like liquor stores and casinos.

SEA 560 - Gives county governments the option to exempt water, natural gas and internet systems from their property taxes, which will encourage utility expansion in under-served areas.