Some state senators pushed back Thursday on a bill that provides payouts to innocent people wrongfully imprisoned.
A Senate committee still approved the bill, despite the opposition.
The legislation would pay people who are proven innocent $50,000 for each year they were behind bars. It also says if they take that money, they can’t sue the state, seeking money in civil court.
Sen. Travis Holdman (R-Markle) says he’s uneasy with the bill. He notes a northwest Indiana man spent 17 years wrongfully imprisoned and wonders if the state shouldn’t, in Holdman’s words, “take our chances” in civil court.
“Seventeen years times $50,000, we’re talking about roughly close to $1 million right there,” Holdman says.
But Sen. Liz Brown (R-Fort Wayne) notes that the last eight wrongfully imprisoned people who successfully sued the state got settlements that amounted to more than $200,000 per year they were locked up.
And Sen. Karen Tallian (D-Ogden Dunes) says the bill is about justice.
“Giving people some compensation for having lost a huge part of their life,” Tallian says.
Holdman and Sen. Mike Crider (R-Greenfield) voted "no" on the bill, the first two votes against it this session across three committees and the House floor.