The cost of home energy will be a bit more affordable for low-income families, thanks to House Enrolled Act 1141 – one of 161 new laws approved this year by the Indiana General Assembly. The new law dedicates nearly $30 million in mortgage foreclosure settlement funds in an effort to assist families who rely on assistance from the Low Income Home Energy Assistance program to pay for high heating or air-conditioning bills. The program is a federal program offering financial assistance to low-income households who qualify and need support to pay home energy bills.
The program is funded from $145 million that the state received from the multi-state legal settlement concerning issues in mortgage foreclosures, and is administered through local community action agencies.
Another law that took effect yesterday was the new statewide smoking ban, prohibiting smoking in most Indiana businesses. New signs have been posted in business indicating that smoking is prohibited within the building and within eight feet of any entrances. The only exceptions to the law include some bars and taverns, horse-racing facilities, riverboats, certain fraternal clubs, gambling game facilities, cigar and hookah bars, and retail tobacco stores that meet certain requirements.