This afternoon, Governor Holcomb said it best: “Sometimes the best defense is a good offense, and we have to go on offense to slow the spread.”
And Indiana has all its players on the court working together for Hoosiers – taking unprecedented actions to protect Hoosiers and extend relief to business and individuals impacted by the changes we’re seeing today in response to the coronavirus.
Here’s just some of the BIG actions and executive orders Governor Holcomb signed today –
State of Emergency
- Indiana’s state of emergency will be extended an additional 30 days when it expires on April 5
- All of Indiana’s K-12 public schools will remain closed through May 1, and non-public schools are also ordered closed. This date could be extended if the circumstances warrant.
- All state-mandated assessments will be canceled for the current academic year.
- The governor has contacted U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos to share the state’s plan and also has asked the Superintendent of Public Instruction Dr. Jennifer McCormick to pursue any federal waivers needed to cancel the requirements for accountability, chronic absenteeism and state-mandated assessments.
- The deadline to pay your state income taxes will be extended from April 15 to July 15 to align with new federal dates.
- Penalties will be waived for 60 days for property taxes paid after May 11. The state will work with counties that may experience cash flow stress because of the delay.
- Indiana will not immediately move forward with using $300 million in reserves to pay for several capital projects approved in the just-concluded legislative session and instead maintain flexibility to utilize the funds as needed for relief efforts and to maintain current services.
- Providers of essential utility services such as gas and electric, broadband, telecom, water and wastewater services are prohibited from discontinuing service to any customer during the public health emergency.
- The state’s application to the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) for an Economic Injury Disaster Loan declaration, per Governor Holcomb’s request, has been approved. This program provides targeted, low-interest loans of up to $2 million to help small businesses and nonprofits overcome the temporary loss of revenue as a result of coronavirus. See more at SBA.gov/Disaster.
Unemployment Insurance Benefits
- The state will interpret Indiana’s unemployment laws to the broadest extent possible to cover Hoosiers who are out of work because of COVID-19.
- Benefits will be paid to individuals who file their initial unemployment claims late.
- The Department of Workforce Development will allow individuals to continue to accrue unemployment eligibility if they take work leave because of COVID-19.
- DWD will seek federal authorization to provide unemployment benefits for those who are not otherwise eligible for unemployment, such individuals who have recently started a job.
- For employers, DWD will not assess certain experience rate penalties because of employees who receive unemployment benefits because of COVID-19.
- No residential eviction proceedings or foreclosure actions may be initiated during the public health emergency. This does not relieve the individual of obligations to pay rent or mortgage payments.
- All public housing authorities are requested to extend deadlines for housing assistance recipients and required documentation to show eligibility for housing programs.
- Participants in the Healthy Indiana Plan (HIP) and the Children’s Health Insurance Program are not required to make premium payments.
- Job search requirements are waived for those applying for Temporary Assistance to Needy Families (TANF) benefits.
- The Family and Social Services Administration will seek a federal waiver to extend renewals for existing Medicaid and HIP recipients.
- Telehealth services for mental health, substance use disorder and prescribing for Medicaid covered services will be expanded.
- The commissioner of the Department of Insurance will request that insurers institute a 60-day moratorium on policy cancellations for non-payment of premiums. This does not suspend a policyholder’s obligation to make payments.
- The commissioner will ask health insurers to cover COVID-19 testing without requiring prior authorization, and also request that health insurers not increase prices or coverage costs that involve medical care for COVID-19.
Bureau of Motor Vehicles
- To limit the number of in-branch transactions, late fees will be waived for several driver’s licenses and identification card renewals, vehicle registrations, titles, and certain other transactions.
- Other operational changes in branches are being instituted to provide for the safety of employees and customers in branches, such as spacing between terminals and limiting the number of customers in the lobby.
- Requirements have been relaxed for veterans to qualify for awards from the Military Family Relief Fund. Awards in excess of $2,500 may be approved by the IDVA director during the public health emergency.
Health and Professional Licensing
- Mental health professionals are permitted to practice via telemedicine.
- Advance Practice Registered Nurses are allowed to provide services in multiple locations.
- The state health commissioner may waive requirements of the nursing home certificate of need statute to respond to COVID-19 issues for long-term care facilities.
Here with the Holcomb Crew, we join Governor Holcomb in thanking each of you for your work to help keep our fellow Hoosiers safe during this difficult time. We’re here for you – and we’re all in this together.
“Here’s to our persistence. Here is to our personal responsibility. And here’s to our confidence to finish this marathon.” – Gov. Holcomb