INDIANAPOLIS – The Indiana General Assembly has discussed several proposals to start the 2015 legislative session. State Senator Jim Arnold (D-LaPorte) has authored a number of initiatives, focusing on issues related to law enforcement, public safety and animal fighting contests.

Northwest Indiana Law Enforcement Academy (NILEA)

SB 193 would designate the Northwest Indiana Law Enforcement Academy (NILEA) as a criminal justice agency and would specify that it is a board-certified training center. The proposal would also define the powers and duties of its board of directors. NILEA was formed on September 15, 1982, originally named the Lake Suburban Public Safety Training Council, Inc. The organization’s inception was in response to a legislative mandate that all police officers in Indiana have a minimum of sixteen hours of in-service training to maintain their certification as law enforcement officers.

Disguised Firearms

SB 224 would define “safety indicator” as a device or coloration designed to indicate that a toy firearm or realistic imitation firearm is not a genuine firearm. The proposal would also make it a Class C infraction to remove a safety indicator and openly carry a toy firearm or realistic imitation firearm in public.

A similar proposal, SB 215 would make the possession of a firearm modified to resemble a toy firearm a Class A misdemeanor and increases the penalty to a Level 6 felony if the person possesses the modified firearm while committing a crime.

Animal fighting contests

The penalty for attending an animal fighting contest would be increased from a Class A misdemeanor to a Level 6 felony under SB 192 which could result in up to six to 30 months in prison.

Firefighters serving on township boards

SB 191 would allow an individual to serve as a member of a township board as well as a volunteer firefighter or full-time firefighter of a fire department in the township. It would specify that an individual who serves as a firefighter and was serving as a township board member on January 1, 2013, and whose term has not expired, may continue to serve as a firefighter and member of the township board, and run for reelection and assume office as a member of the township board.

Tax deduction for military retirement income

Currently, military retirement and survivors have an income tax deduction of $5,000. Sen. Arnold’s SB 262 would increase the income tax deduction to $25,000. This would provide a tax relief to retired military members for their time in service.

Sale of alcoholic beverages near 4-H club exhibits

SB 190 would prohibit the Alcohol and Tobacco Commission (ATC) from issuing a temporary beer permit to a person for the express purpose of selling beer at or near 4-H exhibits.  Specifically, the proposal would prohibit the sale of beer 76 feet from the location of a 4-H club exhibit, or if a 4-H club exhibit is located in a building, an exterior wall of the building; during the hours that 4-H members are present at the 4-H club exhibit. Current law prohibits the ATC from issuing a temporary beer permit to a person for the express purpose of selling beer at a place where an organized 4-H club association has an exhibit.

Shotguns

SB 433 would repeal the prohibition against manufacturing, importing, selling, or possessing a sawed-off shotgun.  The proposal would, however, provide for a 10 year sentence enhancement if a person possesses a sawed-off shotgun in violation of federal law while committing certain criminal offenses.

Confidential victim services requests

SB 289 would permit, for purposes of the Public Records Law, a law enforcement agency to share certain information with a crime victim advocate without the agency losing the discretion to keep this information confidential from other persons requesting records.

Town marshals

SB 419 would provide that, after June 30, 2015, a town law enforcement officer who is not a member of the 1977 Police Officers’ and Firefighters’ Pension and Disability Fund (1977 Fund) and has successfully completed the minimum basic training requirements for town law enforcement officers becomes a member of the Public Employees’ Retirement Fund (PERF). Currently the town legislative body appoints the town marshal, but under SB 419 the president of the town legislative body would appoint the town marshal.

Sen. Arnold represents District 8 in the Indiana State Senate which encompasses   the majority of LaPorte County including the City of LaPorte and the eastern part of Michigan City. It also includes western St. Joseph County and Davis, Oregon, Washington, Center and Jackson townships in Starke County. For more information on Sen. Arnold, his legislative agenda or other State Senate business call 1-800-382-9467 or visit www.IN.gov/S8.

###