Crime bill package passes Senate

A package of five bills focused on reducing violent crime, particularly in Marion County, all passed the Indiana Senate on Wednesday.

Senate Bills 6, 7, 8, 9 and 10 will now move to the Indiana House of Representatives for further consideration.

SB 6, authored by Sen. Michael Young, R-Indianapolis, which focuses on bail for violent arrestees, passed in a 36-11 vote. The bill would require a court to review the probable cause affidavit or arrest warrant before releasing a violent arrestee on bail; bail to be set following a hearing in open court; and a violent arrestee released on bail to pay 100% of the minimum bail amount by cash deposit — effectively eliminating the use of surety bonds by individuals accused of violent crimes.

Another bond bill that passed was SB 8, which regards nonprofit bail funding. The bill would allow a charitable organization to pay bail on behalf of a defendant only if the organization meets certain criteria — including that defendants charged with a felony would not be able to receive bail assistance from a nonprofit.

Also, the legislation would limit nonprofits to depositing bail for misdemeanors up to $2,000. Additionally, any organization that bails out two or more individuals over a six-month span must be licensed and regulated by the Indiana Department of Insurance.

The final vote was 32-14.

Two bills focused on violent crime in downtown Indianapolis also moved forward.

Concerning the creation of a Marion County crime reduction board that would allow for interoperability between law enforcement agencies, SB 7, authored by Sen. Jack Sandlin, R-Indianapolis, passed by a vote of 40-7.

Relatedly, SB 10, written by Sen. Michael Crider, R-Greenfield, passed 46-1. SB 10 would establish the Marion County violent crime reduction pilot and would create a fund to identify violent crime reduction districts in Marion County. Also, it would provide grants to violent crime reduction programs and for additional law enforcement services in the violent crime reduction districts.

Finally, SB 9, by Sen. Kyle Walker, R-Lawrence, passed 46-1. The bill would implement stricter standards for electronic monitoring by increasing oversight of those being monitored, and increase penalties for tampering with monitors or violating a detention order. Those violating the law could have their bail revoked and wouldn’t return to electronic monitoring.

Senate Minority Leader Greg Taylor, D-Indianapolis, said in a statement he doesn’t believe the bills will solve the issues in the city, and that the only bill he voted in favor for was SB 10.

“All we’re doing with the bills introduced in this package is targeting Marion County and making it more difficult for lower-income Hoosiers to receive assistance for bail,” Taylor said in a news release. “SB 8 specifically goes after the charitable bail program, the Bail Project, as well as other not-for-profit organizations, banning them from providing bail assistance to their clients — even as for-profit bail organizations are left completely unregulated.”

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