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Indiana Senate to hold hearings on crime bills

March 22, 2013

Two crime bills moving through the Indiana General Assembly are on the agenda for Senate hearings next week.

House Bill 1006 which rewrites Indiana’s Criminal Code will be reviewed by the Senate Corrections & Criminal Law Committee at 10 a.m. March 26. Also House Bill 1482, which allows for expungement of criminal records, will go before the Senate Judiciary Committee at 9 a.m. March 27.

Senators will be discussing HB 1006 days after Gov. Mike Pence raised concerns over the measure’s approach to low-level offenders. The bill provides intensive probation – particularly for minor drug offenses – rather than incarceration. For higher-level crimes, offenders will have to serve at least 75 percent of their sentences while the so-called “worst of the worst,” like murders and child molesters, will be required to serve 85 percent of their time.  

Supporters of the legislation say the approach will reduce recidivism and save the state money. However, the governor has said he is not in favor of reducing penalties.

HB 1006, authored by Danville Republican Rep. Greg Steuerwald, incorporates the sweeping changes recommended by the Criminal Code Evaluation Commission. The commission did an exhaustive examination of the state’s criminal code and offered several suggestions to address inconsistencies which had appeared over the years.

The bill passed through the House of Representatives on an 80 to 13 vote. It is being sponsored in the Senate by Republican Sens. Brent Steele and Michael Young, and Democratic Sen. Lindel Hume.

House Bill 1482, authored by Rep. Jud McMillian, R-Brookville, requires the courts to expunge nonviolent Class D felony and misdemeanor convictions from criminal records and gives courts the option of expunging other felony convictions.

Eighty-two representatives voted for the measure and 17 voted against it. Sens. Steele and Young are also sponsoring this bill along with Democratic Sen. Earline Rogers.

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