Indiana lawmakers returning to correct errors


INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — State lawmakers are returning to the
Indiana Capitol Tuesday to fix a series of problems with their sweeping
overhaul of the state’s criminal sentencing rules.
Shortly after
lawmakers wrapped up their 2014 session this past March, legislative
leaders discovered a series of drafting errors with the legislation they
had just passed which had serious consequences.
In one instance, a
child sex offense charge could be wrongly interpreted as a lower level
felony than what lawmakers intended. In another case, Indiana law was
accidentally changed so that police officers would not be able to
immediately arrest a suspected thief or shoplifter without obtaining a
warrant first.
The problems were discovered in a sweeping overhaul
of the state’s criminal sentencing rules that lawmakers, lawyers and
others have spent many years putting together. The legislation was
approved earlier this year.
House Judiciary Chairman Greg
Steuerwald, R-Avon, said that even with the thorough reviews, the effort
was so extensive it’s likely to result in some other errors shaking out
in the future.
"We’ve had literally a thousand sets of eyes on
this thing, and the cooperation and the input has been outstanding. At
this point in time we’ve discovered any issues we might have, but I’m
pretty sure there are going to be others," he said.
The goal of
Tuesday’s "technical corrections day" at the Statehouse is to approve
the series of fixes before the legislation takes effect on July 1.
are also correcting separate legislation that was intended to limit the
amount of tax credits available for natural gas vehicles, but
accidentally was applied to all alternative fuels.
The General
Assembly occasionally approves seemingly small errors in legislation
which have big consequences. In 2011, a measure was passed that
accidentally de-authorized the Family and Social Services
Administration. Then-Gov. Mitch Daniels was forced to draft an executive
order that allowed the agency to keep operating.

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