NewsPublic Affairs / November 18, 2019

Indiana Senate Democrats Unveil 2020 Legislative Agenda

Article origination IPBS-RJC
Senate Minority Leader Tim Lanane (D-Anderson) discusses his caucus's 2020 legislative agenda. - Brandon Smith/IPB News

Senate Minority Leader Tim Lanane (D-Anderson) discusses his caucus's 2020 legislative agenda.

Brandon Smith/IPB News

Indiana Senate Democrats say they’ll push next session to decriminalize small amounts of marijuana possession, while not legalizing the drug.

The Senate minority caucus unveiled its 2020 agenda Monday.

One proposal would make possession of less than an ounce of marijuana an infraction rather than a misdemeanor – essentially treating it like a speeding ticket.

Sen. J.D. Ford (D-Indianapolis) says that change would help address the state’s jail overcrowding problem.

“And so everything should be on the table in regards to this because our sheriffs are feeling it," Ford says. "Our jails are becoming detox centers; our jails are becoming mental health centers.”

Senate Democrats will also author gun safety measures. That includes a bill to expand background checks to private and gun show sales and one that would require parents to securely store guns in their home when children are present.

Senate Minority Leader Tim Lanane (D-Anderson) says those measures have broad public support but have never gotten anywhere at the Statehouse.

“Because the supermajorities are out of touch with what everyday citizens believe would be the right thing to do,” Lanane says.

Democrats will also again push for the creation of an independent redistricting commission to draw the state’s legislative district boundaries.

Contact Brandon at bsmith@ipbs.org or follow him on Twitter at @brandonjsmith5.

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