Education changes, porn access, to-go cocktails: Here are 7 new laws going into effect July 1

(Design: Joy Walstrum)

Jun 12, 2024

Education was a primary focus during the Indiana General Assembly’s 2024 legislative session, and several noteworthy reforms — along with dozens of bills covering other topics — will become laws on July 1. 

Student testing, personal device use and access to religious instruction will each change. Outside of education, the state has also added restrictions on pornographic websites and opened the door for ordering to-go cocktails. 

Here are seven soon-to-be laws that may affect you. 

Third grade literacy

A new law requires schools to hold back third graders who can not pass the IREAD-3 state reading assessment, unless the student receives an exception, beginning in the 2024-25 academic year. Additional testing and summer school will also be required of younger students who don’t appear on track to pass. 

Porn website age verification

Pornographic websites must now verify a site visitor’s age in order to ensure children may not access inappropriate material. This new law also allows parents to seek financial damages from websites if their children are allowed access. 

Organizations in the adult industry have challenged the upcoming law, saying in a lawsuit filed Monday that the legislation encroaches on free speech rights.

Alcohol carry out

Bars and restaurants will soon be allowed to sell alcoholic beverages to carry-out customers, provided they are served in a sealed package. 

College tenure rules

Professors at state universities will have new requirements meant to promote “intellectual diversity” on campuses. Complaints can be lodged against professors if a student feels his or her viewpoint was somehow diminished, and universities must now review tenured professors at least once every five years to ensure compliance. 

Magic mushroom research

The Indiana Division of Mental Health and Addiction will be awarding grants to state research institutions for the study of how psilocybin, commonly referred to as magic mushrooms or shrooms, can be used to treat mental illness and other medical conditions. 

Student cell phone use

Indiana K-12 schools must now create, publish and enforce a ban on using cell phones, tablets and other personal devices during instruction time, unless required for the class or an emergency occurs. 

Religious instruction

Indiana schools must also allow students to attend religious instruction for a portion of the school day if parents submit a formal request to their child’s principal. 

Update: This story has been updated to note a lawsuit involving the law to regulate porn site age verification.

Contact Rory Appleton on X at @roryehappleton or email him at [email protected].