Anyone who intentionally damages someone else's property should be held accountable for their actions.
This year, the Indiana General Assembly is working on legislation that toughens criminal mischief and trespass laws to help protect scientific research facilities throughout the state.
This behavior is already a crime in Indiana, but it has become apparent that more needs to be done as a deterrent against future acts against the scientific research facilities within the state.
House Enrolled Act 1363 would strengthen the severity of charges for individuals who commit property damage crimes against these facilities.
Anyone who purposely damages property of a research facility without the would commit criminal mischief, a Class A misdemeanor for any loss that is less than $750.
These acts can also result in a Level 6 felony if property damage is between $750 and $50,000, and can be enhanced to a Level 5 felony for damage above $50,000.
The bill would also strengthen the laws protecting these locations from criminal trespassers, allowing for enhanced charges if the property damage exceeds $50,000.
These penalty levels already exist for anyone who commits these acts against properties like churches, schools and farms.
Research performed in these facilities can lead to life-saving drugs and medical techniques that help keep Hoosiers healthy. Damage to these facilities can destroy years of research and hurt Hoosiers who may need the treatment in the future.
House Enrolled Act 1363 passed out of the Senate Thursday, March 23 after previously passing the House of Representatives.
The bill now moves to the governor's desk for his consideration.
As always, feel free to contact my office directly with your questions and concerns by email at Senator.Messmer@iga.in.gov or by phone at 800-382-9467.
State Sen. Mark Messmer (R-Jasper) represents Senate District 48, which
includes Crawford, Dubois, Gibson, Perry, Pike and Spencer counties.
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