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Monday, December 4, 2023

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NH gun-safety advocates advise services, bipartisan laws after deadly shootings; Food banks, pantries address rising food insecurity during winter holidays; Despite cost debate, some MN businesses intrigued by paid-leave law.

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Muslim American leaders in swing states like Michigan threaten to Abandon Biden, VP Harris criticizes greenwashing at COP28, former congresswoman Cheney calls the GOP a "threat," and George Santos is expelled.

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Congress has iced the Farm Bill, but farmer advocates argue some portions are urgent, the Hoosier State is reaping big rewards from wind and solar, and opponents react to a road through Alaska's Brooks Range, long a dream destination for hunters and anglers.

Hundreds of New Indiana Laws Start This Weekend

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Friday, June 30, 2023   

More than 250 new laws take effect Saturday in Indiana. They range from legalizing the ninja weapons known as throwing stars, to creating a 25-foot buffer around police investigations, to adding cameras to catch heavy-footed Hoosiers speeding through work zones.

You don't have to thumb too far through the stack of new laws to realize social issues caused some of the biggest dust-ups at the Statehouse this year.

Colleen Steffen, executive editor of The Statehouse File, which is staffed by students enrolled at Franklin College's Pulliam School of Journalism, said one bill would have a devastating effect on minors who identify as transgender.

"You know, if it had not been stayed by the lawsuit, I'm thinking of trans kids who are currently getting health-affirming care -- that would have stopped -- if they were already getting it, that would have been stopped as of July 1st," Steffen pointed out. "So, that would have a really dramatic personal impact on somebody."

Proponents applauded the bill. One lawmaker called it "sensible." But other marginalized groups have expressed concerns with state Republican lawmakers' obsession to limit autonomy over their bodies and claim the restrictive laws are fueled by hate and ignorance.

Indiana's so-called "Don't Say Gay" law is also being challenged. It prevents teachers from discussing sexuality in Kindergarten to third grade. While courts sort out legalities for divisive social issues, Steffen noted other bills ease access to health care.

"Another one I'm thinking of is pharmacists being able to prescribe hormonal birth control," Steffen mentioned. "That will be a big change for a lot of women in Indiana, who now have to manage to get to some sort of health care clinic, which can be difficult for a lot of people."

Access to abortion is another matter on which lawmakers continue to focus. While for now, the procedure is legal in Indiana, some Hoosiers admit they have struggled to understand the constantly changing laws.


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