With the turning of a new month, hundreds of new laws took effect July 1 across the Hoosier State. And several of those laws directly impact criminal justice, a Howard County Prosecutor’s office press release noted.

Some of the highlights of laws enacted in the Indiana State Senate include SEA 240, which deals with intimidation and expands the state statute to include threats made to a person that puts that person in fear that the threat will be carried out, the release stated. Government officials hope that such a law will now make it easier on prosecutors to charge those who make bomb or shooting threats toward schools.

Another new law out of the Senate is SEA 198. This is the much talked about bias crimes bill, making it an aggravating circumstance if a crime was committed due to but not limited to a person’s race, creed, disability, national origin, race, religion or sexual orientation. A judge would then be able to decide at a sentencing hearing whether it would be appropriate to apply that aggravating circumstance, the release noted.

In the Indiana House of Representatives, HEA 1186 allows prosecutors to charge the abuse and trafficking of a synthetic drug as the drug it is designed to mimic, and HEA 1615 broadens the language in the animal abuse statutes to make it easier to charge offences related to animals, according to the release.

For a full list of new laws, visit www.iga.in/gov/legislative/2019/bills.

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