INDIANAPOLIS – Starting Thursday, Hoosiers of all ages will need identification to buy beer, wine or liquor for carryout.
That’s when the state’s new universal carding policy officially becomes law, even though some stores have already been voluntarily complying.
It’s one of dozens of new laws passed by legislators this year that go into effect Thursday.
Here are some details related to four of the most significant new laws:
All are carded
Rep. Matt Bell, R-Avilla, pushed the universal carding measure contained in Senate Bill 75 after it was studied and approved by an interim study committee on alcoholic beverages.
He said it was necessary because a high number of alcoholic beverage retailers were found to be in violation of underage drinking laws in undercover stings.
Overall, retailers were willing to sell to minors 35 percent of the time.
No one was at all satisfied with that kind of outcome, Bell said. I grant that it may be a minor inconvenience for some adults. But the purpose is to limit access to minors, which wasn’t happening under the current law.
He also noted that all segments of the industry supported the measure. And a large number of stores had already decided to put the policy in place before the law was passed.
At least one senator said he thinks the law should not require senior citizens to show their identification and wants to clarify the law next year.
Bell said it was always clear that universal carding would affect all Hoosiers regardless of age. But he also pointed out the law provides an automatic defense from being cited for clerks who reasonably believed a person was above the age of 50.
Another law that goes into effect didn’t get much attention during the year but could play a role in upcoming elections.
The law prohibits a homeowners association from adopting or enforcing restrictive covenants or rules banning the display of political or candidate signs.
Associations around the state were doing so, and several constituents brought the issue to the General Assembly. Legislators found this to be a violation of free speech and passed Senate Bill 64 to allow the signs with certain limitations.
For instance, the signs are allowed up to 30 days before an election and five days after. An association can restrict the size and number of signs. Signs must be allowed in windows and on ground that is part of the homeowner’s property.
In light of free speech for all candidates you ought to be able to put yard signs up for a certain period of time, said Rep. Randy Borror, R-Fort Wayne, a co-sponsor of the bill.
He also said that in cities like Fort Wayne, candidates are no longer allowed to put the signs in the right of way, making their placement in yards more important.
Guns at work
The most controversial bill becoming law this week is one allowing workers to bring guns to work if they are left in locked vehicles.
Many businesses previously had bans on firearms in their parking lots and buildings, based on the rights of a business to secure its private property.
But Republicans and Democrats sided with the Second Amendment rights of Hoosiers to carry weapons, saying they should be allowed to have the guns for self-defense. .
People will have the right to carry their legally owned firearms secured in their vehicles to their place of work, said Rep. Bob Bischoff, D-Lawrenceburg. The weapon will have to be stored in the locked vehicle’s trunk or glove compartment or kept out of plain sight.
It cannot be carried into the workplace, unless expressly allowed by the employer.
The provision in House Bill 1065 could still be challenged in court, though.
Kevin Brinegar, president of the Indiana Chamber of Commerce, said a working group of chamber businesses is considering possible litigation.
He said there are two likely grounds for suing. First is that the law favors a person’s Second Amendment gun rights over the Fourth Amendment property rights of a business.
We have a clash of rights here clearly. That’s been the rub, Brinegar said. Ultimately, the Indiana or U.S. Supreme Court will have to determine the question.
A second avenue for litigation is equal protection. That’s because lawmakers included a host of exemptions in the bill for certain properties but not others. The exemptions include schools, utilities, domestic violence shelters and child care centers.
Finally, another law going into effect could help single parents provide for their children.
It requires casinos to intercept slot machine winnings of $1,200 or more to pay outstanding child support obligations. It would kick in only if the person is considered delinquent – owing more than $2,000 or at least three months behind on payments.
Members of the Casino Association of Indiana compared a list of last year’s casino winners who were issued a federal income tax form with the list of delinquent parents to see what kind of money might be generated.
They estimated about $1.2 million would have been collected from 400 people.
The state’s casinos resisted, saying private enterprise shouldn’t be required to collect money for the state. But Gov. Mitch Daniels pushed Senate Bill 163 through to improve the state rate of collecting child support.
Currently, about 165,000 non-custodial parents owe more than $2 billion in back child support payments.
Rep. Linda Lawson, D-Hammond, said the casino provision is just one part of a comprehensive package of child support reforms that will substantially improve the way that our state handles the collection and payment of support.