RFRA and four other new Indiana laws that will go into effect on July 1, 2015

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By: Krystal Vivian kvivian@953mnc.com

(Source: https://goo.gl/Nd9gFp License: https://goo.gl/sZ7V7x)

Several new laws are taking effect in Indiana starting Wednesday, July 1. Here’s the lowdown on five that you should know about. Click on the title to read the full text of each law.

RELIGIOUS FREEDOM RESTORATION ACT

The controversial law says that government cannot place a burden on a person’s religious liberty unless it can prove a compelling interest in imposing that burden. The burden must also be the least restrictive means of preserving the government’s compelling interest.

Legal experts say the law is a standard by which court cases will be judged. The law sparked controversy when critics said it could be used by business owners to deny services to same-sex people. State lawmakers and Gov. Mike Pence amended RFRA to clarify that it can’t be used for discrimination.

STATUTE OF LIMITATIONS ON RAPE CASES

The law is also known as Jenny’s Law and is named for Jenny Wendt, a woman who couldn’t press charges against her rapist because he confessed to the crime after the statute of limitations had already passed.

Under Jenny’s Law, prosecutors can charge a person with rape after Indiana’s regular state of limitations runs out if:

  • the state first discovers enough DNA evidence to charge the offender OR
  • the state first becomes aware of an audio or video recording that provides enough evidence to charge the offender OR
  • a person confesses.

IMMUNITY FOR DAMAGE CAUSED WHILE RESCUING A CHILD

This law protects individuals from being held responsible for paying for damage caused while rescuing a child. Specifically, its meant for people who may forcibly enter a vehicle if a child is locked inside of it on a hot day.

ANONYMOUS REPORTING  

This law allows individuals to remain anonymous while reporting incidents of public officers’ malfeasance, misfeasance or nonfeasance. A court order is required in order to identify a person who made a report.

LEFT LANE LAW

Just in time for the Fourth of July weekend, drivers who follow the speed limit while driving in the left lane must move over if an approaching vehicle is going faster.

Drivers who don’t move over may be ticketed and fined up to $500, based on each officers’ discretion.

Read more about other laws taking effect in Indiana on July 1.