On July 1, several important state laws will take effect, including 12 authored, co-authored, and co-sponsored by State Rep. Andy Thomas (R-Brazil). This legislation covers numerous issues important to the community, including health care, local government savings, and economic development, among others.
"I am pleased that we could work together, across party lines, to move this important legislation through the process," said Thomas. "These are positive changes for our area, have little fiscal impact, and will help protect Hoosiers statewide."
The following is a short summary of each of a few of the laws that will take effect July 1, 2004:
- Public Law 50 establishes a bulk prescription program for over 430,000 Indiana employees of state and local government, universities, and local public school corporations. The goal of the bill is to reduce the cost of prescriptions 30-40 percent. Currently, state pharmaceutical expenditures other than Medicaid total about $104.4 million annually. The bill also allows Indiana to enter into multi-state bulk medication purchases. Next year, it is hoped that the program will be expanded to include senior citizens without prescriptions and retired teachers.
- Public Law 93 will allow local units of government to conduct online reverse auctions for the purchase of supplies needed by the entity. This will save all local levels of government in Indiana time and money, while placing purchasing requests for goods needed on a secure site. The government entity will be able to accept the bids electronically in the same secure setting.
- Public Law 73 assists low-income Hoosiers receiving Medicare who are most in need of the state's help and are not covered by their current Medicare or private plans. The bill complements federal legislation by filling in the gaps of the federal prescription drug coverage.
The bill also establishes the Prescription Drug Advisory Board, which will make recommendations concerning Indiana's Hoosier Rx program.
- Public Law 31 allows a county to use Barrett Law financing to improve lighting in unincorporated area. This will improve local governments' ability to improve areas around the county without creating an unfunded mandate.
- Public Law 22 allows the Indiana the Indiana Health Finance Commission to study home health care programs, such as CHOICE. An estimated 30,000 persons are on the waiting list for home health care services in Indiana. This commission will focus on creating an efficient, cost-effective way to improve home health care for those in need.
"In this past short legislative session, the people of Indiana needed to see true results," said Thomas. "In the future, we need to continue to work together, put aside political differences, and cooperate on legislation that will improve the quality of life for Hoosiers in Indiana."
Thomas was directly involved with 12 bills that will become effective on July 1. However, in total, Rep. Thomas moved 15 pieces of legislation this past legislative session, all of which improve the efficiency of state government or increase the ability of local government to make choices for the area.
If you have questions, comments, or concerns about these laws, or any suggestions for legislation this upcoming session, contact Thomas' office at 800-382-9842, ext. 9824, or send e-mail to: