Patients would be protected from surprise medical bills under one of the many pieces of legislation that passed out of the Indiana Senate Tuesday. They include:

Senate Bill 3: Provides protections for patients against surprise medical bills.

What it does: SB 3 bars health care providers from charging prices that are out of the patient’s insurance network in emergency cases. It also requires them to provide patients a good faith estimate of the cost of services when requested.

What happened: SB 3 easily passed the Senate by a 49-0 vote with little debate or discussion

What’s next: The bill now advances to the House for action.

Senate Bill 268: Would have launched a pilot program for an automated traffic control system.

What it does: The bill would have allowed traffic cameras in certain highway construction zones to control speeding and protect the lives of workers. It also would have barred police from issuing a traffic ticket until the motorist exceeded the speed limit by 11 miles per hour.

What happened: SB 268 was eligible for a final vote in the Senate but its author, Sen. Jon Ford, R-Terre Haute, decided against calling it. He acknowledged that there wasn’t enough support for the bill in the Senate and even if it did pass the House Committee on Roads and Transportation was unlikely to hear it. In earlier hearings, opponents expressed concerns about the privacy of motorists being violated.

What’s next: SB 268 is dead for the 2020 session.

Senate Bill 43: Consolidates numerous Indiana fraud statutes.

What it does: The bill repeals various fraud, deception and mischief offenses and condenses them into few statutes.

What happened: Sen. Michael Young, R-Indianapolis, author of the bill, said that the legislation takes 42 different types of fraud and deception and consolidates them into three laws. Sen. Aaron Freeman, R-Indianapolis, argued against the bill saying it would lead to many appeals as the legal system deals with them.

What’s next: The bill passed 27-22 and will now move to the House for debate.

Senate Bill 146: Defines the rights of sexual assault victims

What it does: The bill provides sexual assault victims the opportunity to speak with a sexual assault counselor before undergoing a forensic medical exam or during the course of an ongoing investigation.

What happened: Sen. Blake Doriot, R-Syracuse, author of the bill, urged passage saying that it is important for victims and survivors to be able to have access to services to help them through the experience.

What’s next: The bill passed 49-0 and will now move to House to be heard.

Senate Bill 207: Extends the state’s syringe exchange program.

What it does: The bill repeals the expiration date of the syringe exchange program, which is set to expire July 1, 2021.

What happened: The bill was defeated 22-27. Sen. Jim Merritt Jr., R-Indianapolis, one of the authors of the bill, said it doesn’t change anything in the program except remove the July 1, 2021 date when it was set to expire. Sens. Jack Sandlin, R-Indianapolis, and Erin Houchin, R-Salem, urged lawmakers to vote no saying they saw no results from the program and drug users leave needles behind for the community to clean up. Sen. Michael Crider, R-Greenfield, argued for a yes vote, saying programs like the needle exchange are trying to keep people alive and move toward recovery.

What’s next: The syringe exchange program expires in about a year and a half.

Senate Bill 263: Requires school staff to be trained before being allowed to carry firearms on school grounds.

What it does: If an employee of a school corporation, charter school or nonpublic school wants to carry a firearm, they must first successfully complete certain firearm training and undergo a personality test. The individual then must provide proof he or she completed the requirements.

What happened: SB 263 passed 42-7 with Sen. Gregory Taylor, D-Indianapolis, saying he voted yes because he believes that if an individual is going to carry a gun in a school they should be trained.

What’s next: The bill now moves to the House for debate.

Lacey Watt and Haley Carney are reporters for TheStatehouseFile.com, a news website powered by Franklin College journalism students.

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