Indiana lawmakers returned to the statehouse Tuesday, June 17, to conduct a whirlwind meeting to fix technical changes to House Bill 1006 from the 2014 session, which amends the Indiana criminal code.
This one-day technical correction session was held for the first time since 1995. In order to hold a one-day session, lawmakers had to pass resolutions that would allow them to amend a bill in just one day.
According to the Indiana Constitution, laws must be passed through three readings on separate days before it can be sent to either the opposite floor for consideration. Both the Senate and the House voted to make an exception Tuesday, as the bill would have gone into effect July 1 with errors.
Although the changes were technical they were no less substantial.
Had the bill passed without the technical changes, it would have prevented police officers from making a shoplifting arrest unless they witnessed the crime being committed. It also would have allowed child molesters to serve eight years less than the legislature intended.
Both sides of the aisle agreed that the bill needed to be addressed and qualified as expedient and would allow for a quick fix. The revisions have the unanimous support of leaders in all four caucuses.
The bulk of the reform was passed in 2013. In 2014, legislators made numerous technical changes during session but this meeting was the final seal before the code moves into effect July 1.
The largest provision of the bill will reorder the felonies in Indiana into six categories instead of four.
A “savings clause” is included in the bill, which will grandfather in old cases under the original charge. New criminal charges will be filled under the new code and will come with significant changes for legal staff and criminal violators.