2021 Legislation

The following is a summary of the bills from the last legislative session that may be of interest to our membership.  For the full text of each bill please go to: http://iga.in.gov/legislative/2021/bills/.

This page was last updated on 5-4-2021 at 4:30 p.m. and will no longer be updated as the 2021 session has concluded (sort of).  The legislature will reconvene to draw new legislative districts later in the year when they receive the 2020 census information from the federal government.

UPDATE 5-11-2021 — Summer study topics for 2021 assigned to the Interim Study Committee on Corrections and Criminal Code are listed at the bottom of the page.

 

Senate: 

SEA 98: Interstate compact transportation fund. – Requires the fiscal body of each county to establish a county offender transportation fund for the purpose of defraying the costs of transporting offenders and delinquent children who are subject to retaking under the rules of the interstate commission for adult offender supervision and the interstate commission for juveniles.  Appropriations shall be made to defray the costs of transporting as requested by a court, probation department, community corrections agency, or county sheriff.

  • Every county should already have this fund established.  Money deposited in the fund comes from one-half of the Interstate Compact Transfer Fee.  The money in the fund is now available for community corrections clients and its more clearly written that the money can also be used by the county sheriff to help pay their expenses for retaking a person from another state.

SEA 232: Exposure risk diseases.Adds any variant of severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS), including coronavirus disease (COVID-19), to the list of diseases considered an exposure risk disease for purposes of emergency and public safety employee death and disability presumed in the line of duty. Provides, for any employee who is diagnosed after June 30, 2021, with a health condition caused by any variant of SARS, including COVID-19, that if the health condition results in disability or death and the employee wishes to have a presumption of disability or death incurred in the line of duty apply to the employee, the employee shall, by written affidavit executed before death, provide verification that the employee has not, outside the scope of the employee’s current employment, been exposed to another individual known to have any variant of SARS, including COVID-19. 

  • POPAI was able to get probation officers and community corrections officers added to this bill.  However, the conference committee removed the language and stated that adding us to the statute is too costly based on the amount of money currently in the fund and the revenue that is deposited annually.  Several members of the committee requested the issue be assigned as a summer study topic for the Interim Study Committee on Pension Management Oversight and POPAI will continue to advocate for this assignment.

SEA 368: Juvenile justice. – Provides for the automatic expungement of certain juvenile offenses (excludes felonies and offenses related to handguns and firearms). Prohibits a juvenile arrestee who meets certain requirements from being housed with adult inmates prior to trial, with certain exceptions. Establishes a procedure for determining juvenile competency. Provides that after a juvenile court has determined that a child is a dual status child, the juvenile court may refer the child to be assessed by a dual status assessment team under certain circumstances.

  • This one has significant changes when it comes to expungement and where/how to house juveniles who are subject to waiver or direct file.  It is recommended that anyone working with juveniles should read about these changes.

 

House: 

HEA 1001: State budget. – This is the bi-annual budget bill that provides state-wide funding for the budget years of July 1, 2021 to June 30, 2022 and July 1, 2022 to June 30, 2023.

The following items remain at previous funding levels (all amounts listed are per year):

  • Probation Officers Training – $750,000
  • Veterans Problem-Solving Court – $1,000,000
  • Drug and Alcohol Programs Fund – $100,000
  • County Jail Misdemeanant Housing – $4,152,639
  • Community Corrections Programs – $72,449,242
  • Juvenile Detention Alternatives Initiative (JDAI) – $3,017,447
  • Mental Health and Addiction Forensic Treatment Services Grant (Recovery Works) – $25,000,000; however unspent funds will no longer remain in the fund, but revert to the general fund at the end of the fiscal year.

The following items received an increase in funding:

  • County Jail Maintenance Contingency Fund from $30M to $33M in 2021-22 and $34M in 2022-23.  The per diem reimbursement rate paid to sheriffs for the cost of housing convicted L6 felonies, jail and parole holds increases from $37.50 to $40.00.

The following items are new and intriguing:

  • Public Defender Council – At Risk Youth and Families – $2,500,000 per year
  • Council for State Governments – Juvenile Justice Data Research Project – $250,000 for 2021-22; $0 for 2022-23
  • Family and Social Services Administration – Mental Health Grants – $50,000,000 per year from the American Rescue Plan Act Funds to address mental health needs across the state.

HEA 1064: Courts and Magistrates.Adds a new superior court judge in Hamilton County. Adds a new magistrate in Decatur, Huntington, Lake, and Hancock counties.  Adds three new magistrates in Marion County.  It also removes the sixth circuit court in Delaware County, but this court wasn’t going to be established until 2023 so they didn’t lose a court that is already functioning.

HEA 1068: Local or regional justice reinvestment advisory councils. – Establishes a local or regional justice reinvestment advisory council (JRAC) (local or regional advisory council) in each county in Indiana. Provides that the purpose of a local or regional advisory council is to review local or regional criminal justice systems, policies, and procedures. Provides that the state-wide justice reinvestment advisory council shall assist local or regional advisory councils with promoting: (1) the use of evidence based practices; and (2) certain best practices of community based alternatives and recidivism reduction programs. Sets forth duties of local or regional advisory councils.

  • Everyone should read about this newly created local JRAC as the Chief Probation Officer (or designee) has a seat on the council.  The Indiana Office of Court Services announced that the Governor’s Office recently pledged funding to help with training and technical assistance for these local JRACs to get them started.  The local JRAC shall meet at least quarterly and community corrections advisory boards (CCAB) could serve as the local JRAC though you should make sure that your CCAB has all the necessary members required for the local JRAC.  Additionally, this act adds a section that requires the state-wide JRAC to conduct a review of community corrections code provisions in the Indiana Code and make recommendations to improve operations with evidence based practices.  A representative from POPAI is a statutory member of the state-wide JRAC committee so if you have any recommended changes to the existing community corrections statute, please contact any member of the POPAI Board and let them know your thoughts.

HEA 1127: Mental health and addiction forensic treatments.Removes a provision that allows a: (1) delinquent child’s; or (2) person’s; Medicaid participation to be terminated following a two year suspension due to certain adjudications or incarceration. Adds competency restoration services to the list of treatment and wraparound recovery services made available to certain persons in the criminal justice system. Adds competency restoration services to the list of services that qualify a person for mental health and addiction forensic treatment services. Adds: (1) recovery community organizations; and (2) recovery residences; certified by the division of mental health and addiction (division) or its designee to the list of organizations eligible for certain funds and grants from the division. Requires demographic data concerning race and ethnicity to be included in certain demographic research performed by the division.

  • This act deals with two things.  First, it removes the language that states any delinquency child placed in detention, DOC, etc. shall have their Medicaid “suspended” for two years before terminating it.  It now simply allows the Medicaid to be terminated immediately.  Second, it adds competency restoration services to the list of items that can be paid by Recovery Works and the person does not need the felony charge or conviction for this specific service.  It also adds recovery community organizations and recovery residences to the list of entities who can voucher for Recovery Works funding.

HEA 1199: Driving Privileges.Provides that the bureau of motor vehicles (bureau) shall stay a suspension of a person’s driving privileges, and terminate that suspension, upon a showing of proof of future financial responsibility, and provides that an individual whose suspension has been terminated because the individual submitted proof of future financial responsibility is not required to pay a reinstatement fee. Requires that the bureau terminate a suspension of a person’s driving privileges if the bureau does not receive proof that financial responsibility is not in effect after 180 days. Provides that a suspension may be stayed and then terminated if a person fails to pay the judgment. Provides that a warrant may be issued for failing to appear in a traffic violation case if the charge is a misdemeanor or a felony. Provides that a person whose support obligation is enforced by the Title IV-D agency may have the obligor’s driving privileges reinstated. Provides that the bureau shall place in forbearance license reinstatement fees of individuals who: (1) are nonviolent offenders; (2) have completed a criminal sentence or are serving terms of probation or parole; and (3) are enrolled in job training or maintain consistent employment for at least three years following completion of job training. Provides that the bureau shall waive all reinstatement fees and reinstate the driving privileges of an individual who has had reinstatement fees placed in forbearance after the individual maintains consistent employment for at least three years. Provides that the bureau, in collaboration with the department of correction, shall administer programs and activities to facilitate the reinstatement of driving privileges for convicted offenders not later than July 1, 2021. Extends the traffic amnesty program for one year to permit certain persons owing unpaid traffic fines, or who may be required to pay a fee for reinstatement of driving privileges, to obtain a reduction in the amount owed or amount payable.

  • This has some significant changes to a person’s loss of driver’s license and their ability to have it reinstated without paying fees under certain circumstances.  It could potentially benefit many of our clients who experience a loss of their driver’s license.

HEA 1256: Juvenile court jurisdiction. – Provides that a child who: (1) commits indecent display by a youth; or (2) commits dangerous possession of a firearm or provides a firearm to another child in certain circumstances; has committed a delinquent act subject to the jurisdiction of a juvenile court.

HEA 1285: Bureau of Motor Vehicles. – Among many other things, this act provides that the bureau shall suspend driving privileges or invalidate the learner’s permit of an individual who is at least 15 years of age and less than 18 years of age for being a habitual truant, which at a minimum is when a student is chronically absent by having more than ten unexcused absences in one school year.

HEA 1365: Various elections matters. – Among many other things, this act provides that a person is disqualified from assuming or being a candidate for an elected office if the person is a nonjudicial court employee (this includes probation officers) who would violate Rule 4.6 of the Indiana Code of Judicial Conduct by being the candidate of a political party for nomination or election to an elected office or a political party office. 

HEA 1383: Judicial officers. – Provides that a person commits battery on a public safety official if the offense is committed against a retired judicial officer while the retired judicial officer is serving as a judge, and allows a retired judicial officer to carry a handgun in the same manner as a judicial officer while the retired judicial officer is serving as a judge. Adds current and former probation officers and community corrections officers to the list of persons whose residential addresses may not be disclosed on a public property database website operated by a unit.

  • POPAI was successful in getting the bill amended to alter IC 36-1-8.5 to include probation officers and community corrections officers in the list of individuals whose addresses are excluded from public property databases and public websites (i.e. GIS).  Probation officers and community corrections officers should be able to begin making this request after July 1, 2021.

HEA 1468: Various health matters. – Among many other things, this act creates a new 9-8-8 crisis hotline center in Indiana to coordinate crisis intervention services and crisis care coordination to individuals accessing the 9-8-8 suicide prevention and behavioral health crisis hotline from anywhere in Indiana twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week.  The 9-8-8 hotline be set up not later than July 1, 2022.  It also adds two additional members to the state-wide Justice Reinvestment Advisory Council (JRAC), which are the president and chief executive officer of the Indiana Council of Community Mental Health Centers (or designee) and the president and chief executive officer of Mental Health America of Indiana (or designee).

 

Interim Study Committee on Corrections and Criminal Code:

The committee is charged with studying the following topics for 2021:

  • Human trafficking, including topics specified in HB 1018.
  • Assignment of counsel at the initial hearing in criminal cases, the capacity of the public defender system to provide counsel, and the impact of providing counsel on jail overcrowding.
  • Jurisdiction over adults for sex offenses committed while a child.
  • Juvenile sentencing to life without parole.
  • Costs and fees for juvenile prosecution.
  • Multi-year review of current trends with respect to criminal behavior, sentencing, incarceration, and treatment.