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Gov. Holcomb signs hands-free driving, panhandling bills into law

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Posted at 4:01 PM, Mar 23, 2020
and last updated 2020-03-23 16:18:37-04

INDIANAPOLIS — Gov. Eric Holcomb signed a handful of bills into law over the weekend, though many won’t take effect until this summer.

Here’s an early look at some changes to Indiana law expected on July 1.

Teacher Evaluations

Holcomb signed a law that decouples teacher evaluations from required standardized tests. The bill was overwhelmingly popular, passing the Indiana House 100-0 and the Senate 49-1.

The Indiana State Teachers Association, the state’s largest union for public educators, supported the proposal.

Panhandling

Beginning July 1, the state will have new restrictions when it comes to panhandling. The new restrictions will effectively ban panhandling in downtown Indianapolis.

It would ban somebody from panhandling within 50 feet of any of the following:

  • ATM
  • Entrance to a business or restaurant
  • Parking garage
  • Parking meter

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The ACLU of Indiana has said the law is unconstitutional, so a lawsuit to challenge it may be coming.

Hands-Free Driving

It will be illegal to hold your phone while driving, beginning July 1. You can still use your phone, but it must be on speaker or through your car’s Bluetooth.

There were some rejections to the bill when it was going through the legislative process – mostly centered around the role of government.

You can get a ticket beginning July 1, but the BMV can’t add points on your record until July 1, 2021.