INDIANAPOLIS- The Senate approved a proposal on Tuesday, 42-6, to require law enforcement agencies to enhance education on cultural diversity and U nonimmigrant Visas (U-Visas). Senate Bill (SB) 343, authored by Senate Democratic Leader Tim Lanane (D- Anderson), would benefit those who do not hold legal status in the United States and have been affected by violent crimes.

“By educating law enforcement agencies on the importance of U-Visas for victims of violent crimes, we can help encourage victims to speak out and seek justice,” said Sen. Lanane. “No one should have to suffer a violent crime in silence.”

An understanding of the U-Visa process by law enforcement officers is important as certification of a victim’s cooperation by the officers is a prerequisite to a victim’s application for U-Visa status with the federal government.

SB 343 would not serve as a shortcut to citizenship, but instead a vehicle of cooperation. Law enforcement agencies would be educated on the purpose of U-Visas and their role as an authorizer. Law enforcement officers would only be liable for indicating whether a victim was cooperative or are likely to be helpful in the future. The Law Enforcement Training Board would adopt rules for minimum standards for a course of cultural sensitivity and U-Visa training and sets forth provisions for continuing education.

The proposal will now move to the House of Representatives for further consideration.

Sen. Lanane represents Indiana Senate District 25 includes the portions of Madison and Delaware counties, including the City of Muncie and portions of the City of Anderson. For more information on Sen. Lanane, his legislative agenda or other State Senate business call 1-800-382-9467 or visit www.IN.gov/S25 .

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