INDIANAPOLIS—Distracted driving, cancer screening and insulin bills were among those that advanced in the General Assembly Tuesday as 2020 session moves closer to a mid-March finish. Those bills are:
House Bill 1070: Hands-free driving
What it does: HB 1070 would allow police to cite a driver of a motor vehicle for holding a cell phone or other hand-held electronic device. The current law bans texting while driving, but law enforcement officers who testified in favor of the bill said that it is difficult to prove that a person was texting.
What happened: The Senate Homeland Security and Transportation Committee heard more than an hour of testimony Tuesday from law enforcement, medical professionals, students and people directly affected by distracted driving who argued in favor of the bill. One young woman, Keira Hudson, told the committee how she was affected twice by distracted driving—once when she drove her SUV into a tree while she was talking on her cell phone causing injuries serious enough that she will never walk again and a second time when a driver slammed into a line of stopped cars, crushing her vehicle. The committee passed HB 1070 by an 8-1 vote, with Sen. Phil Boots, R-Crawfordsville, casting the lone no vote saying he didn’t believe a law to ban distracted driving would work.
What’s next: HB 1070 advances to the full Senate for action.
House Bill 1080: Colorectal cancer screening
What it does: The bill lowers the age at which colorectal cancer screenings must be covered by insurance policies, state health plans and health maintenance organizations to 45 from the current 50. It does not, however, include high-deductible insurance plans. Sen. John Ruckelshaus, the Indianapolis Republican who authored the bill, said the state’s “hands are tied” on those plans due to federal regulations.
What happened: The Senate voted 44-5 to pass the bill. Sen. Mike Young, an Indianapolis Republican who was among the five Republicans who opposed the bill, questioned why it applied only to colorectal cancer, rather than all cancers. “If we’re going to do one we ought to do them all,” Young said. Ruckelshaus noted that 3,160 Hoosiers are diagnosed with colorectal cancer annually, with more than 1,100 dying. This bill, he replied to Young’s concerns, “is only a start.”
What’s next: The bill, which earlier passed the House 98-0, now goes to Gov. Eric Holcomb to be possibly signed into law.
Senate Bill 255: Insulin drugs
What it does: SB 255 would allow people with diabetes to get their insulin drugs from a pharmacy without a prescription. Under current law, selling insulin without a prescription is a Level 5 or 6 felony.
What happened: Rep. Robin Shackleford, D-Indianapolis, proposed an amendment to the bill that would cap the cost of insulin at $100 every 30 days. Republicans in the House protested that it was not germane to the original bill and House Speaker Brian Bosma, R-Indianapolis, agreed, ruling that it could not be heard.
What’s next: SB 255 faces a final vote in the full House.
Senate Bill 132: Makes changes to the former “safety first” license plate
What it does: SB 132 renames the “safety first” license plate as the “first responder” plate. Under the bill, the Department of Homeland Security may require a person to submit information, a document, or an application electronically for the special plate.
What happened: SB 132 passed the House Veterans Affairs and Public Safety Committee Tuesday by a 10-0 vote.
What’s next: SB 132 will head to the full House for consideration.
House Bill 1129: Infant screening
What it does: Requires every infant to be screened for Adrenoleukodystrophy (ALD) as early as possible and infant pulse oximetry screening examinations to be given.
What happened: The bill passed 49-0 in the Senate.
What’s next: The bill will now head to Gov. Eric Holcomb to possibly be signed into law.
House Bill 1143: Device implantation
What it does: HB 1143 prohibits an employer from requiring that a worker implant a device as a condition of employment.
What happened: The bill swiftly passed the Senate by a 49-0 vote.
What’s next: The bill will now head to Holcomb to possibly be signed into law.