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Two Leising bills signed into law

Mar. 19—STATEHOUSE — Two bills authored by State Senator Jean Leising (R-Oldenburg) were recently signed into law by Governor Eric Holcomb.

The first makes it easier for property owners to clear debris from their land.

Senate Enrolled Act 140 allows property owners to remove logs that are crossways in a stream or river on their property without a permit from the Indiana Department of Natural Resources under certain conditions.

One condition allows property owners to burn the logs unless a local ordinance directs otherwise.

"The Drainage Task Force, which I co-chaired during the 2022 and 2023 interim, found Indiana residents struggle to maintain their own property because of strict drainage laws they can't easily review," Leising said. "This law works to return some rights back to property owners and help them identify state drainage regulations by publishing an updated Indiana Drainage Handbook online."

SEA 140 is a result of the Drainage Task Force's studies. The task force met to:

Review the responsibilities of landowners and state and local authorities under current land drainage laws;

Consider recommendations concerning drainage and regulatory matters; and

Consider whether the balance between state and local authority over agricultural land drainage favors state authority more in Indiana than in neighboring states.

The bill also requires the Indiana State Department of Agriculture to oversee and take actions necessary to prepare and publish an updated version of the Indiana Drainage Handbook.

SEA 140 will go into effect July 1, 2024. To learn more, visit iga.in.gov.

The second measure will help more Indiana students obtain a higher education degree.

Senate Enrolled Act 8, which is on the governor's 2024 Next Level Agenda:

Requires each Indiana high school to offer the Indiana College Core or submit a college core feasibility report to the Indiana Commission for Higher Education (CHE) starting the 2025-26 school year;

Allows a high school student who successfully completes a college core course to apply the credit toward their graduation requirements;

Requires a high school students' transcript to reflect the credit once they complete a college core course; and

Requires each state higher education institution to review their bachelor's degree programs to determine whether they could be completed in three years by a full-time student.

"Indiana high school students are not enrolling in college at the rate they did in 2016, and it is due in part to seniors being concerned about the cost and long-term commitment a four-year degree requires," Leising said. "This bill works to alleviate students' concerns by helping them start their higher education in high school and graduate college earlier."

SEA 8 will go into effect July 1, 2024. To learn more, visit iga.in.gov.

Leising represents Senate District 42, which includes Decatur, Fayette, Ripley and Rush counties, and portions of Franklin, Jennings and Shelby counties.