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2017 Indiana General Assembly Wrap-Up on HR Related Legislation

Wednesday, May 31, 2017  
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2017 Indiana General Assembly Wrap-Up on HR Related Legislation

By Sara Blevins, Attorney at Lewis & Kappes, P.C.

IndySHRM Legislative Affairs Committee Member

The Indiana General Assembly concluded its 2017 Session last month. This year was a state budget, “long session” year with much of the attention focused on budget, infrastructure, and education matters. Out of the 1249 bills introduced this Session, the General Assembly passed 270 into law, a few of which touch and concern HR matters.

New Laws:

Here’s an overview of HR related legislation for private employers passed into law by the 2017 Indiana General Assembly (please note that this does not include the several laws enacted that pertain solely to public employees):

Senate Bill 59, P.L. 225-2017 – Professional Licensing

Allows the professional licensing of marriage and family therapists, mental health counselors, and addiction counselors for a person that is licensed in another state or jurisdiction, has passed a test that is substantially the same as what is required for the Indiana license being requested, and does not have any pending disciplinary matters in another state. Similarly, a person may obtain a temporary psychologist license if the person is licensed in another state or jurisdiction, has passed a test that is substantially the same as what is required for the Indiana license being requested, and does not have any pending disciplinary matters in another state.

Requires that a person seeking a license as an addiction counselor associate or clinical addiction counselor show evidence that s/he (1) received a bachelor’s degree in addiction counseling/master’s or doctorate degree in addiction counselling or a related area from a eligible school and completed certain educational requirements, (2) has not been convicted of a crime of violence or convicted of a crime in the previous two years that has a direct bearing on the person’s ability to practice competently, (3) has not been the subject of disciplinary action by the licensing agency of another state related to ability to practice without endangering the public, and (4) passed a required exam.

Sets renewal and continuing education requirements for addiction counselor associates.

Law affected: Adds new sections to the Indiana Code § 25-23.6-1-4.4, § 25-23.6-1-4.7, § 25-33.6-8-9.5, § 25-23.6-8.5-9.5, § 25-23.6-10.5-1.5, § 25-23.6-10.5-2.5, § 25-23.6-10.5-9.5, § 25-23.6-10.5-12.3, § 25-33-1-9.5. Amends Indiana Code § 25-23.6-10.1-1, § 25-23.6-10.5-12.

Signed into law April 28, 2017. Effective July 1, 2017.

Senate Bill 114, P.L. 49-2017 – Professional Licensing

Eliminates the jobs creation committee that was established in 2010 to review and evaluate regulated occupations and boards and transfers duties to the Indiana professional licensing agency. Requires that the last annual report required from the jobs creation committee must be submitted no later than June 30, 2017.

Law affected: Repeals Indiana Code § 25-1-16-3, § 25-1-16-6, § 25-1-16-7, § 25-1-16-11, § 25-1-16-12, § 25-1-18-14. Amends Indiana Code § 25-1-16-8, § 25-1-16-9, § 25-1-16-10, § 25-1-16-13, § 25-1-16-14, § 25-1-16-15, § 25-1-18-12, § 25-1-18-13, § 25-1-18-14, § 25-1-18-15.

Signed into law April 13, 2017. Effective July 1, 2017.

Senate Bill 198, P.L. 230-2017 – Career and technical education

Requires the Indiana State Board of Education (IBOE) to use data from the Indiana Department of Workforce Development (DWD) to develop, implement, or revise a long range state plan for a comprehensive secondary level career and technical education program; prepare and implement a career and technical education plan; investigate funding for career and technical education; establish and monitor career and technical education; adopt rules concerning certain career and technical education programs and other related education; develop recommendations to the General Assembly regarding employment training and career and technical education; make policy recommendations for policies to encourage minority group involvement in career and technical education; establish a regional planning and coordination system for career and technical education and employment training; provide information and advice on career and technical education to business, industry, and labor organizations operating job training programs; adopt systems and policies concerning student records, secondary level data processing, evaluation of programs and courses, and financial audits; establish education evaluation criteria; prepare a report on attrition and persistence rates by students enrolled in secondary career and technical education programs; and make funding recommendations.

Requires IDOE to consult with the department of veterans’ affairs, in addition to other agencies in the existing statute, concerning the coordination of career and technical education.

Establishes a 15 school, one- or two-year pilot program for instruction and use of Indiana career explorer program and curriculum (internet based curriculum to provide students with career and college planning resources). After the expiration of this pilot program, schools shall include a course for 8th grade students with instruction or use of the Indiana career explorer program and curriculum or an approved alternative Internet based career and college planning resource.

As of July 1, 2018, removes requirement that IDOE adopt rules about program type and participation for eligibility for certain career and technical education grants; changes timeframe for procedures to determine the amount of a grant; and removes certain provisions for counting students in certain programs for purposes of grant funding. Requires DWD to make certain designations of career and technical education programs, which must be approved by IDOE, as of December 1 each year starting on December 1, 2017, and amends re-categorization methods to require IDOE approval. Requires DWD to make certain reports on career and technical education courses, labor demand, average wage level, and other related information, as of December 1 each year starting on December 1, 2017. The report must be reviewed and approved by IDOE at a public meeting on January 1 each year starting on January 1, 2018. Requires that a career and technical education program must be approved by DWD to be eligible for certain grants. Changes method for calculating grants as of July 1, 2018. Expands the adult student grant fund eligibility. Removes extra funding category for adult student grant funds. Limits renewal period for adult student grant funds to terms equal to eight undergraduate academic years. Establishes the high value workforce ready credit-bearing grant, including criteria for eligibility, funding, award amount, term, and use.

State providers of workforce related programs must prepare a written report on its programs by October 1 each year.

Requires the governor’s office to develop a comprehensive workforce development plan by October 31, 2017 to create, reconfigure, and align workforce development programs and funding in the areas of secondary, postsecondary, and adult training and retraining to focus on meeting the needs of Indiana employers; the plan must be forwarded to legislative counsel by November 1, 2017 for review and consideration of potential 2018 legislation.

Law affected: Amends Indiana Code § 20-20-38-4, § 20-20-38-5, § 20-20-38-6, § 20-20-38-7, § 20-20-38-8, § 20-20-38-9, § 20-20-38-10, § 20-20-38-12, § 20-20-5-14, § 20-43-8-3, § 20-43-8-4, § 20-43-8-5, § 20-43-8-6, § 20-43-8-7, § 20-43-8-8, § 20-43-8-10, § 20-43-8-12, § 21-12-8-1, § 21-12-8-2, § 21-12-8-3, § 21-12-8-5, § 22-4.1-4-3, § 22-4.1-4-9. Adds Indiana Code § 20-43-1-14.5, § 20-43-1-15.5, § 20-43-1-16.5, § 20-43-8-7.5, § 20-43-8-13, § 20-43-8-14, § 20-43-8-15, § 20-43-8-16, § 21-12-8-9, § 21-12-8-10, § 21-12-8-11, § 21-12-8-12, § 21-12-8-13, § 22-4.1-1-5.5, § 22-4.1-1-7, § 22-4.1-4-3.3, § 22-4.1-24.

Signed into law April 13, 2017. Effective July 1, 2017.

Senate Bill 253, P.L. 56-2017 – Study of voluntary paid family and medical leave

“Urges” legislative counsel to assign to the employment and labor committee or another appropriate study committee the topic of a voluntary paid family and medical leave program. The findings and recommendations made by the Indiana commission for women. The study should include a process to evaluate and establish mechanisms, including payroll deduction systems, by which an employee and an employer may contribute to the program; the identification of mechanisms for the timely acceptance of claims, processing claims, and payment of claims; a description of the estimated staffing, infrastructure, and capital needs associated with the establishment and administration of the program; and the identification of possible funding sources to assist with the startup costs associated with the establishment and administration of the program, including the availability of federal funding.

The study should be completed and findings and conclusions reported by November 1, 2017.

Signed April 28, 2017.

Senate Bill 307, P.L. 109-2017 – Veteran preference for employment training

Removes the expiration of priority for federal or state employment or training programs for a member of the National Guard or member’s spouse (was one-year after discharge from active duty for the member and upon discharge from active duty for the spouse).

Gives priority to veterans and spouses of veterans for placement in any federal or state employment or training program. Defines “veteran” for this priority program as a person that is a resident of Indiana, previously served on active duty in any branch of the armed forces of the United States or their reserves, in the National Guard, or the Indiana National Guard, and received an honorable discharge.

Law affected: Amends Indiana Code § 22-4.1-4-3. Adds a new section Indiana Code § 22-4.1-4-3.3.

Signed into law April 21, 2017. Effective July 1, 2017.

Senate Bill 312, P.L. 210-2017 – Use of criminal history information in hiring

Provides that, unless federal or state law provides otherwise, a local government may not prohibit an employer from obtaining or using criminal history information during the hiring process to the extent allowed by federal or state law, rules, or regulations; or, at the time of initial employment application, making an inquiry regarding the applicant’s criminal history information or requiring the applicant to disclose criminal history information.

Criminal history information for an employee or former employee may not be introduced as evidence against an employer in a civil lawsuit that is based on the conduct of the employee or the former employee if (1) the nature of the criminal history information does not bear a direct relationship to the facts underlying the civil action; (2) before the acts that gave rise to the civil action occurred, a court order sealed the record of the criminal case, the conviction was reversed or vacated, the employee or former employee was pardoned, or the criminal conviction was expunged; or (3) the criminal history information concerns an arrest or charge that did not result in a criminal conviction. This does override any federal or state law that requires a criminal history background investigation or consideration of criminal history information in hiring for particular kinds of employment.

Law affected: Adds a new chapter Indiana Code § 22-2-17.

Signed into law April 27, 2017. Effective July 1, 2017.

Senate Bill 390, P.L. 68-2017 – Employment of individuals with disabilities

Changes the number of members and make-up of the Indiana commission on rehabilitation services and changes the terms and term limit for membership on the commission.

Adds to commission responsibilities: (1) the preparation of an annual report with recommendations concerning the implementation and progress toward advancing competitive integrated employment for individuals with disabilities; and (2) development of a statewide plan to support the advancement of competitive integrated employment, including self-employment, and the first and preferred option when providing services to individuals with disabilities (to include identification of barriers to employment, analysis of governmental policies about the provision of services and their impact on opportunities for competitive integrated employment, and recommendations to advance competitive integrated employment).

Sets forth that it is the policy of the State of Indiana to advance competitive integrated employment within all programs and agencies that provide services and support to help individuals with disabilities obtain employment. This is referred to as the Indiana Employment First Act.

Law affected: Amends Indiana Code § 12-12-2-3, § 12-12-2-4, § 12-12-2-7. Adds a new chapter Indiana Code § 22-9-11.

Signed into law April 13, 2017. Effective July 1, 2017.

House Bill 1154, P.L. 177-2017 – Unemployment insurance

Requires the Indiana Department of Workforce Development (DWD) to make a presentation to the interim study committee on employment and labor about the status of the unemployment compensation system (including certain required topics) by November 1 of each year (under existing law, this presentation was made to the budget committee).

Changes interagency information sharing provisions.

Provides that certain claim notices are to be sent to the employer by mail, upon written request via specified form by the employer.

Provides that excess funds in the special employment and training services fund shall be paid to the unemployment insurance benefit fund no later than January 30 each year and certain funds shall be expended by July 1 to specified programs. Suspends expenditure maximum for the special employment and training services fund for fiscal years beginning July 1, 2017 and July 1, 2018 and removes permissive allocation to specified reemployment training accounts.

Law affected: Amends Indiana Code § 22-4-18-1, § 22-4-19-6, § 22-4-19-13, § 22-4-25-1. Repeals Indiana Code § 22-4-25-2.

Signed into law April 13, 2017. Effective July 1, 2017.

House Bill 1308, P.L. 78-2017 – Professional Licensing

As of January 1, 2018, repeals the requirements for obtaining a certificate of registration, filing articles of incorporation and amendments thereto, and notification to the Secretary of State of change in ownership for a professional corporation.

As of July 1, 2017, removes the option to delay professional license renewal upon finding of good cause to believe certain violations have occurred. Instead, the Professional Licensing Agency may impose sanctions after renewal of a license.

Removes authorization for a student hearing aid dealer to fit or dispense hearing aids and issuance of student hearing aid dealer certificate of registration.

Removes the option for a temporary medical permit for a person who will be taking a board examination in Indiana for the first time.

Creates noneducational commission for foreign medical graduates certified graduate permits.

Extends implementation of midwifery certification laws from July 1, 2017 to July 1, 2018.

Changes requirements for the make-up of the Indiana board of veterinary medical examiners. Allows individuals under the direct supervision of a veterinarian to administer immunization to an animal for a fee.

Requires that licenses, certificates, registrations, and permits for military spouses be expedited.

Changes procedures for certain health related boards to handle exception reports related to medication prescriptive activity of a practitioner that deviates from prescribing norms and authorizes release of certain prescription information to the state epidemiologist.

Law affected: Repeals Indiana Code § 23-1.5-2-9, § 23-1.5-2-10, § 23-1.5-3-6, § 25-20-1-5. Amends Indiana Code § 25-1-5-4, § 25-1-6-4, § 25-1-8-8, § 25-1-17-11, § 25-13-1-8, § 25-14-1-10, § 25-20-1-2, 25-20-1-3, § 25-20-1-13, § 25-22.5-5-4, § 25-22.5-5-4.6, § 25-23.4-3-1, § 25-23.4-3-7, § 25-31-1-2, § 25-38.1-2-1, § 25-38.1-2-2, § 25-38.1-2-4, § 25-38.1-4-5, § 35-48-3-3.1, § 35-48-7-11.1, § 35-48-7-11.5.

Signed into law April 13, 2017. Effective July 1, 2017, in part, June 29, 2017, in part, and January 1, 2018, in part.

House Bill 1493, P.L. 224-2017 – Long term care and home health agencies

As pertains to employment matters only, Requires a home health agency to have a written drug testing policy that is given to all employees and must require each employee to acknowledge receipt of the policy.

Requires home health agencies to test job applicants for positions that will have direct contact with a patient for illegal use of a controlled substance, after giving written notice of the agency’s drug testing policy. The agency may use the applicant’s refusal to submit to a drug test or positive test result as a basis for refusing to hire the applicant. If the applicant is hired before the test results are received, the new hire may not have any patient contact before a negative test result is received. If a positive test result is received for a new hire, the agency shall discharge or discipline the employee. If the agency chooses to discipline the new hire for a positive test result, the employee may have no direct patient contact for at least six months.

Requires home health agencies to, at least once a year, randomly test 50% of the home health agency’s employees who have direct contact with patients and are not licensed by an Indiana board or commission under Indiana Code Title 25 for illegal use of a controlled substance. Requires home health agencies to test an employee for illegal use of a controlled substance upon reasonable suspicion of such use. Requires a home health agency to discharge or discipline with a minimum of a six month suspension any employee that refuses to submit to a drug test. If an employee tests positive and does not have a valid prescription for the substance for which s/he tested positive, the agency shall have the results verified by a confirmation test at employee expense. If the results are confirmed, the agency shall either discharge or suspend the employee from direct patient contact for at least six months after the date of the confirmation test result. If the employee has a valid prescription for the substance for which s/he tested positive, s/he may not be terminated or suspended.

If a home health agency discharges or disciplines an employee or refuses to hire a job applicant because of a positive drug test or refusal to submit to a drug test, the discharge, discipline, or refusal to hire is considered for just cause. A home health agency acting in good faith (but not gross negligence or willful or wanton conduct) is immune from civil liability for conducting employee drug tests under this law or taking an employee disciplinary action or discharging an employee in compliance with this law.

This law is new Indiana Code § 16-27-2.5, with related amendments to Indiana Code § 22-4-15-1(d). The effects of the whole bill are as follows: Adds Indiana Code § 12-10-11.5-8, § 12-10-19, § 12-15-5-17, § 12-15-14-8, § 12-15-34-15, § 16-18-2-317.7, § 16-27-2.5, § 16-28-2-11, § 34-30-2-66.7. Amends Indiana Code § 16-18-2-173, § 22-4-15-1

Signed into law April 27, 2017. Effective July 1, 2017.

Interim Study Committee:

No meeting dates or agenda items have yet been set for the Interim Study Committee on Employment and Labor – stay tuned!

If you have any concerns, comments, or suggestions for your Indiana state legislators, the best time to contact them is during the summer and before the 2018 Legislative Session begins in January of next year. More information about contacting your Indiana state legislators can be found at Please contact any member of the IndySHRM Legislative Affairs Committee for more information and suggestions about how to engage your legislators.

Additionally, please join IndySHRM on June 6, 2017 for our annual Legislative Wrap-Up luncheon. Join your Legislative Affairs Committee and our scheduled guests John Ketzenberger (veteran Statehouse reporter and current President of the Indiana Fiscal Policy Institute, who will serve as our panel moderator) and Representatives John Bartlett (D-95, Indianapolis) and Jerry Torr (R-39, Carmel). Information on registration can be found on IndySHRM’s website ( We hope to see you there!

This article is for informational purposes only and not for the purpose of providing legal advice. You should contact an attorney to obtain advice with respect to any particular issue or how the law applies to you.

Sara Blevins is a partner at Lewis & Kappes, P.C. where she practices employment law, education law, and general civil litigation. She can be reached at or (317) 639-1210. Sara serves on the IndySHRM Legislative Affairs Committee.