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The color purple

By DARRELL SMITH - dsmith@newsexaminer.com

When the calendar turns to July, new laws take effect in Indiana.

One new law makes it easier for property owners to notify hunters, mushroomers or anyone wishing to enter their property that it is off limits. In the process, it adds color to the landscape.

No longer do Indiana property owners have to put up “No trespassing” signs to let people know they want them to stay off their property. A can of purple paint is all that is needed.

Indiana House Bill, now House Enrolled Act 1233, authored by Rep. David Wolkins, R-Warsaw, addresses several environmental issues. It also adds a section about trespassing that has become known as the “Purple Paint Law.” 

The new provision is inserted into Indiana Code 35-43-2-2 as a new requirement for notification for trespassing. Currently the code includes oral communications, posting a notice on the property and a court order as methods to let people know to not trespass.

On trees, the purple mark must be at least 8 inches long and be placed 3-5 feet above ground level. It must be within 100 feet of the next nearest tree marking.

On posts, the mark must cover the top 2 inches of the post, with the bottom of the mark 3 to 5.5 feet above ground level. Posts must be marked at least every 36 feet.

The markings must be easily visible to those approaching the property. If the tree or post is on a property line, both property owners must agree before the purple mark can be placed on both sides. 

Enforcement is the same as for no trespassing signs.

At least 13 states have previously passed purple paint laws, West Virginia, Kansas, Arizona, Montana, Arkansas, Idaho, Florida, Maine, North Carolina, Missouri, Illinois, Tennessee, Louisiana and Texas.

State Sen. Jean Leising, R-Oldenberg, discussed other laws that became effective July 1.

Joining other states, Senate Enrolled Act 203 makes it a crime for someone to commit an act that results in the loss of a fetus at any stage of development. 

The law exempts legally performed abortions or a woman who terminates or causes termination of her own pregnancy.

She said a person could be convicted of murder, voluntary manslaughter, involuntary manslaughter or feticide and could receive a sentence of six to 20 years.

Leising signed onto the bill as a co-author.

A bill authored by Leising, SEA 142, establishes a statewide maternal mortality review committee  until June 30, 2023. Any health care provider that loses a mother as a result of delivery or in the 12 months following delivery, must report that to the committee.

“I was shocked at the high number of maternal mortality in Indiana,” she said. “There are I think 31 counties in the state where you cannot have a baby because there is no hospital that will allow you to deliver. You have to wonder if that is part of it and are they not getting prenatal care.”

At the ceremonial bill signing, Indiana State Health Commissioner Dr. Kristina Box indicated more people are wanting to serve on the committee than the 17 seats available, so they recognize the issue is important, Leising said. 

SEA 240, another bill Leising authored, defines emotional support animal for purposes of rental properties. 

At the last meeting of the Indiana Protective Advocacy Services, a former chair asked if the law could not be changed to do even more. They want to make sure the rights are protected for those with legitimate needs for services animals and are not damaged by those who do not have legitimate needs, she explained. 

HEA 1065 provides for grants through the state Office of Community and Rural Affairs be awarded to broadband providers to improve service in rural areas.

Leising served as a Senate sponsor for the bill.

“Currently there is not much money in the program, so next year in the budget year, we’re going to try to get some money there to encourage broadband expansion,” she said. “It’s common in the Batesville area for people to drive their kids to the McDonald’s parking lot so they can pull down their homework.”

She said Internet service at her rural house is poor so she often downloads emails at other locations.

“It’s hard for people in the cities, which most of the legislators are, to understand how you just can’t get broadband easily,” she said. “I’ve talked to phone carriers, it’s the money they need to do it. It’s not that they don’t want to.”

Another House bill she sponsored, HEA 1116, allows dental hygienists to go into facilities such as nursing homes for teeth cleanings. Often the resident must be transported by ambulance to medical appointments and most insurance policies do not pay for dental transports. The hygienist must have an access practice agreement with a dental practice.