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House committee passes altered immigration bill

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The Indiana House Public Policy Committee has passed Senate Bill 590, a contentious piece of legislation that aims to tackle illegal immigration in the state. But the bill that will go before the full House has been stripped of several controversial items included in the original.

Gone is a provision that would allow law enforcement to check the immigration status of someone an officer stopped, arrested, or detained if the officer has probable cause to believe the person isn’t in the country legally. The bill required a “reasonable suspicion” standard be applied and that people be able to prove they are here legally.

The bill contained provisions that were similar to those that passed a year ago in Arizona. Some worried Indiana would be subject to lawsuits regarding the legislation if the bill passed in its introduced form, as has been the case in Arizona.

The Public Policy Committee also made changes to the bill focusing more on employers instead of law enforcement, including tax penalties for businesses that hire illegal immigrants.

Consideration of the bill in the House stalled while House Democrats were in Illinois for more than a month in protest of other legislation proposed this session.

Despite the walkout, the session is still scheduled to conclude April 29.

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