Senate Joint Resolution 1 passed out of the Corrections and Criminal Law Committee on Tuesday morning, but not without being swayed by the MCRC members who showed up to testify in opposition.
SJR 1 introduces arbitrary language into Article 1 Section 17 of our Indiana Constitution. This vague language impacts our communities by allowing a person to be held without bail for even a minor offense if a judge decides that person poses a substantial risk to the public. SJR 1 does not define substantial risk. Bail should be set at an amount that will guarantee a person will come back to court, it is not meant to be used to detain an innocent person before conviction.
The Marion County Re-entry Coalition called out for testimonies in opposition to the bill, and they showed up! Demetrice Bruno of Redemption Outreach Services, and Ericka Sanders of You Yes You! both testified, and Kate Guerrero and Paul Sammons appeared in opposition. Bernice Corley also testifies on behalf of the Indiana Public Defender Council.
"I am super thankful for the opportunity to be part of MCRC and this work group. The training we did thanks to the bar association was very helpful in understanding the process. I walked in feeling confident and comfortable instead of nervous and unsure." - Ericka Sanders
Even though it passed, the senators seem to be thinking about the language in the bill.
"I believe that the comments made by the MCRC members definitely swayed the members who voted against it. I'm hoping that this shows the impact that the MCRC voices can have." - Kate Guerrero
What Happens Next?
The bill will go back to the Senate for consideration. According to this Fox59 article, if both the House and Senate approve the amendment, it would need approval again in two years by the next legislature, followed by voters in the 2026 general election.
In the meantime, you can still call and email the committee members on this bill. Click HERE to see the members and how they voted.