July means new laws

July 1, 2008
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Today the majority of bills signed into law by Gov. Mitch Daniels in February and March go into effect. There are a lot of new laws that are of interest to the legal community – judges’ pensions, public records and criminal offenders, juvenile offenders, and inmate credit time, just to name a few.

In combing through list of the new laws, a few jumped out at me. One that many businesses might not realize takes affect today is the requirement of lactation support in the workplace. This means employers who have at least 25 workers have to provide as reasonably possible a private location for an employee to pump breast milk and a refrigerator to store the breast milk. This is great news for the working mothers who have to go a bathroom stall to pump or give up on breastfeeding because of potentially cumbersome logistics when they are at work.

Did you know that we are now able to get an Abraham Lincoln license plate from the BMV celebrating the bicentennial of his birth? The plates are just one more way for Indiana to remind everyone that Indiana was Lincoln’s boyhood home, and it gives Hoosiers yet another option for making a statement with our license plates. So far, I’m not aware of any lawsuits filed as a result of the issuance of these new Abe plates.

Another law passed this session – thought it doesn’t take effect until 2010 – is detergents used in household dishwashers are now going to be subject to prohibition under Indiana Code Section 13-18-9.

Taking effect today, however, is the law that allows a vehicle to be equipped on a year-round basis with tires that have retractable tire studs as long as those studs remain retracted from May 2 to Sept. 30. Although the topic of the law is kind of odd, it does aim to continue to protect Indiana’s roads during the summer from unnecessary damage from those studs.

I must admit I am a bit saddened my favorite introduced bill from this past session didn’t become a law – SB 191. This bill required retail establishments, except for some gas stations, to make employee toilet facilities available to the public if no other facilities were readily available. Did that really need to be a law?

Are there any bills that you are surprised didn’t make it into law or any that surprise you made it all the way to the governor’s office? What was your favorite off-the-wall bill introduced last session?

UPDATE: The Indiana Supreme Court handed down four opinions yesterday afternoon, bringing the total in June to 25. That's the fewest opinions released by the high court in June in the last three years.
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