The full General Assembly will meet at the Statehouse Tuesday to make changes to the state’s criminal code overhaul before the law takes effect July first.
The bulk of Indiana’s overhaul of the criminal code was passed in 2013. But lawmakers put off its effective date until this summer so they could make further changes during the 2014 legislative session.
In the wake of this year’s session, legislators and prosecutors have identified a few issues, mostly involving technical errors within the more than four hundred page bill.
Follow-up legislation to last year’s criminal code overhaul bill is headed to the Senate floor after a committee Thursday added potential funding help for local communities.
The purpose behind the state’s criminal code overhaul was in part to divert low-level offenders away from prison and into local community corrections programs. But so far, the General Assembly hasn’t done much to provide those local programs more money.
Senate Appropriations Chair Luke Kenley says, for now, the legislature can begin to address local needs by creating a grant program.
Indiana’s attorney general will work with the state’s congressional delegation in the new year to try to secure more federal funding for police officers in schools. But some criminal justice advocates say hiring new school resource officers won’t necessarily make schools safer.
Independent analysts say the overhaul of Indiana’s criminal code will increase the prison population unless the law also pushes prosecutors and judges to direct more offenders into community corrections programs.
Bedford Republican Senator Brent Steele says he remains confident the legislature will pass a bill overhauling the state’s criminal code, despite Governor Mike Pence voicing concerns about the measure’s impact.
Gov. Pence’s main issue with the bill is its reduction of penalties for low-level drug offenders. Those behind the criminal code reform effort want to focus more on rehabilitation. But Pence says the state must remain tough on drugs and work to reduce crime, not penalties.
Tippecanoe County juvenile court judge Loretta Rush is Indiana’s newest Supreme Court justice – and the second woman to ever sit on the state’s high court.
Governor Mitch Daniels named Rush as his pick Friday. Hamilton County judge Steven Nation and Indianapolis attorney Geoffrey Slaughter were the other two finalists. Many in the legal community urged the governor to name a woman to the bench.
While Daniels says he wasn’t oblivious to those calls, quality was his first concern.