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Friday, February 28, 2014

Ind. Law - More on: HB 1006 on its way to passage

At the end of yesterday's post, the ILB set out the digest of the 8-page Amendment 13, which the Senate Finance Committee incorporated into HB 1006.

Today Niki Kelley of the Fort Wayne Journal Gazette has a story, headed "Senate panel OKs grants to offset sentencing guideline changes," that explains:

A key Senate panel tried to address fiscal concerns of a criminal sentencing overhaul Thursday.

The Appropriations Committee created a mechanism that would allow up to $11 million to be funneled back through grants to local community corrections or probation services.

But the money is not guaranteed. It materializes only if the Indiana Department of Correction reaps expected savings from a reduced prison population.

The legislature could provide more solid funding next year when crafting a new two-year state budget.

“The language is not a direct appropriation,” said Sen. Luke Kenley, R-Noblesville. “That’s probably the best we can do this year.”

The legislation passed committee 9-2 and heads to the full Senate.

From later in the story, discussing this second session look at HB 1006 (assigned the same number in both 2013 and 2014), which goes into operation on July 1st:
That bill isn’t effective until July 1 of this year. That left lawmakers more time over the summer to grapple with funding questions.

And now they are back with House Bill 1006 Part 2.

It has been a constant balancing act of trying to increase sentences for serious crimes while putting fewer low-level offenders in prison.

The biggest problem has been conflicting projections on how the measure will affect the prison population for the Indiana Department of Correction.

In addition to the tentative funding mechanism, Kenley’s amendment to the legislation decreased maximum sentences for four of the felony classifications. For instance, a Level I felony would have a maximum of 40 years in prison instead of 50 years.

The fiscal effect is still unclear, something Sen. Brent Steele, R-Bedford, said is to be expected.

“Until it actually hits the ground we won’t know how judges and prosecutors use it and how it performs,” he said. “Keep your eye on it as it plays out in the future. I hope it does what we think it will do.”

Posted by Marcia Oddi on February 28, 2014 08:40 AM
Posted to Indiana Law