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[29] New laws benefitting agriculture, privacy and transportation safety
Start Date: 3/31/2014Start Time: 12:00 AM
End Date: 3/31/2014
Entry Description
New laws benefitting agriculture, privacy and transportation safety

There is so much that can happen in a short session at the Statehouse. Often times, there are great pieces of legislation that pass through both chambers, unheard of by the public. In my last column, I recognized a few bills that supported veterans, strengthened student safety, lessened the financial burden placed on adoptive parents and set recycling goals for municipalities. I would like to discuss a few more important legislative items and how these new laws will affect our community, specifically looking at Indiana’s agriculture industry, the Indiana State Fair, Hoosier’s rights to privacy and scooter safety.
 
I serve on the extension board that oversees our community 4-H programs. Supporting student 4-H activities is an important step for Indiana to express its commitment to not only agriculture education and farmers but many other areas of interest including science, photography and leadership.
 
Students will now be able to be excused for up to five days from school to participate in the State Fair. This allows students to showcase their abilities and hard work on the biggest stage our state has to offer in regards to agriculture. Many of these students have worked on their displays, activities or showings throughout the summer, and I wanted to be supportive of their commitment to agriculture. 
 
In looking at the entire agriculture industry in our state, which exports more than $3B in goods annually, I supported legislation that creates the Indiana Grown Initiative. A commission will be appointed by the secretary of agriculture and rural development, which will be tasked with promoting and marketing Hoosier grown products throughout the state, including grocery stores and local businesses. Hoosiers want to support other Hoosiers. This commission will do more to showcase Hoosier agriculture products, so Hoosier consumers can support their local farms. 
 
Whether on the farm or in the city, all Hoosiers should be mindful of technological advances and how innovation affects their privacy. The Indiana Privacy Protection Act will prohibit warrantless searches of electronic communications, user data and geolocation information. There are devices called “Stingrays,” which are owned by the police, that can masquerade as cell phone towers and collect call and location data from nearby cell phones in real-time. I am firm believer in our constitution and feel that Hoosiers should know their personal information is protected. There is a clause in the law that requires law enforcement to provide probable cause to track a person’s cell phone and puts limits on the use of surveillance cameras and drones. Addressing emerging issues - including technology privacy – is how we keep laws current, despite being a part-time Legislature. 
 
Another issue that received a lot of attention prior to and during session is how scooters were regulated or the lack thereof. New legislation was enacted creating two classes of “motor driven cycles.” Class A includes scooters with a cylinder capacity greater than 50 cubic centimeters (cc) while Class B scooters have a cylinder capacity of 50 cc or less. 
 
Class A requires the driver to have a valid driver’s license as well as insurance, while Class B requires a motor driven cycle endorsement and a state-issued I.D. card but not insurance. The motor driven cycle classifications will protect commuters, help law enforcement identify scooter operators and provide an option to those without a driver’s license to still get to work. This issue has become a safety concern due to the increase use of scooters on the road, and the committee who worked on this legislation will continue to monitor the situation.
 
Each session, we are up against the clock, and the media can only cover so many bills in full detail. All of these new laws will greatly benefit our state. Throughout the interim, I will continue to keep you all informed of the affect the legislation will have on all of us, now and in the future.

-30-
Representative Kathy Kreag Richardson (R-Noblesville)
Contact Information:
Name: Nicholas Goodwin
Phone: 317-232-9831
Email: nicholas.goodwin@iga.in.gov
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    House of Representatives Republican Caucus

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