Improving the New and Improved

Indiana Statehouse

Each year, most of Indiana’s new laws take effect on July 1st. Sure, January 1 sees a few, and some others are scattered around the calendar. But those are the also-rans, the red-headed stepchildren of legislation. The varsity really suits up mid-year. For a General Assembly that is (technically) part-time, the Indiana legislature still manages to crank out a lot of sausage.

What follows is a summary of the 2016 newbies, along with the Breaking Law Blog’s thoughts about how new laws could be improved. And if you think that judging legislation on a thumbs-up/thumbs-down model is too provincial for your tastes, give it time—they’ll probably pass a law against it next year.




SEA 80 Allows a pharmacist to deny cold medicine containing pseudoephedrine if the pharmacist believes the purchaser does not have a legitimate need. Thumbs UpThis law is a good example of local communities finding solutions to guide State lawmakers. Pharmacists aren’t stupid. Nobody wearing a Bart Simpson tee shirt unironically actually buys Sudafed® so that he will feel 100% at work the next day.

Still, one small improvement might be to also allow a Pharmacist to say, “I’ll sell it to you, but only if you get a note from the police that confirms you’ve identified your dealer.” You’d be surprised how well this would work.

HEA 1187 “Stolen Valor” law makes it a misdemeanor to obtain a discount or benefit by falsely claiming to be a military veteran. Thumbs UpFrankly, anyone convicted of this should be drafted.
SEA 339 Wagering on fantasy sports is classified as NOT gambling, but the online fantasy sports contests now have Indiana Gaming Commission regulations. Thumbs DownPutting real money on theoretical outcomes of events that don’t actually exist is like putting money into funds that don’t actually exist. Only Social Security is allowed to do that.

Also, anyone choosing Tom Brady for a fantasy team should be forced to wear Uggs® at the Indiana State Fair.

SEA 1386 Purchasing alcohol on Sundays is allowed (up to 4.5 liters) if it’s manufactured and sold at an artisan distillery. Thumbs DownAs long as we’re adding words like “artisan” to the Indiana Code, shouldn’t this law require only listening to vinyl?
SEA 1048 Drivers involved in minor crashes are to move their vehicles out of traffic if it can be done safely. Thumbs UpGood luck enforcing this one. Any car with only a dented fender left in traffic will soon remove itself from the definition of “minor.” Elegantly self-regulating.
SEA 248 Drivers speeding in a work zone twice in one year will receive a 60 day suspension, in addition to other penalties. Thumbs DownSince Indiana has declared the orange barrel to be the official state mammal, determining an actual work zone will require the use of police psychics.
HEA 1374 Cremains of a police dog may be buried near grave of its deceased owner. Thumbs UpIf you don’t like this idea you’re a horrible, horrible person.
HEA 1378 Indiana’s Public Retirement System must end investments in businesses that support boycotts or sanctions against Israel. Thumbs UpMoney talks. Even to anti-Semites.
SEA 216 Landlords can contract with police to enforce traffic laws on private streets in an apartment complex. Thumbs DownDid we run out of public streets with traffic laws in need of policing?

Author: Andy Perkins

Rochester, Indiana.

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