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Halftime of the 2021 legislative session

Halftime of the 2021 legislative session
Halftime of the 2021 legislative session
State Rep. Stephen Bartels
Viewpoint of State Rep. Stephen Bartels

The 2021 session has reached the halfway point, meaning House bills are now being heard by the Senate, and the House is considering Senate bills. This session, I am working on legislation that would cut red tape for Hoosiers, specifically for small-business owners, local health care providers and law-abiding citizens.

Legislation I am authoring would help remove a roadblock for business owners choosing to represent themselves in small claims court to recoup funds owed and save money on unnecessary attorney fees. This builds on a law passed last year, which increased an individual’s amount they can represent themselves to $8,000. House Bill 1110 would increase this threshold by the same number for businesses as well. Business owners sometimes opt out of going to court because the attorney fees alone would be more than the claim itself. As the law is currently written, many companies would rather pay the claim outright. My proposal would give corporate entities, limited liability companies and limited liability partnerships the opportunity to represent themselves for claims up to $8,000.

Another bill I am working on aims to cut red tape for Hoosier health care providers. Every day, doctor and veterinarian offices are required to report controlled substances, like ephedrine or pseudoephedrine, even if they did not prescribe any to patients. When businesses are closed for the weekend and even during the pandemic, health care professionals are still required by law to submit a report. My legislation would end the daily reporting and extend the reporting window to a 24-hour period. If a health provider does not dispense any controlled substances that day, they would not have to report it. My legislation also states if the dispensers’ pharmacy is closed the day after dispensing, reporting must be done on the next business day. House Bill 1109 would give Hoosiers working in these offices one less burdensome task to do and more time to dedicate toward their patients.

House Republicans also advanced legislation that would allow law-abiding Hoosier adults to carry a firearm without having to first obtain a government-issued license. This concept of lawful carry allows a legally eligible Hoosier to legally carry a firearm, without a permit, as allowed by the Second Amendment. If passed into law, lawful citizens wanting to carry a firearm would no longer have to go through the extensive application process to obtain a carry license. This bill would not change the process to legally purchase a handgun, which means Hoosiers must still complete the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives form and be approved by the National Instant Criminal Background Check System. Many states already allow law-abiding citizens to carry a handgun without a government-issued permit, making Indiana potentially the 19th state to do the same.

These three bills can now be considered by the Indiana Senate.

As session progresses, there are a lot of bills to move through the legislative process.

To learn more about legislation from this session, visit iga.in.gov or reach out with any thoughts and concerns by email at [email protected] or by calling 1-317-232-9802.

Editor’s note: State Rep. Stephen Bartels, R-Eckerty, represents House District 74, which includes portions of Crawford, Dubois, Perry, Orange and Spencer counties.

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