2019 Quarter 2 | The Council of State Governments | MLC Criminal Justice and Public Safety Committee

MLC Criminal Justice and Public Safety Committee Newsletter
In This Issue
CSG Justice Center Update
Legislative Session Highlights
Important Dates
June 24: 

June 27: 

June 28: 

July 16: 

July 21: 

July 21-24: 

July 28-31: 

August 1: 

August 9-13: 

August 17-21: 

August 23-28: 

August 26-28: 

September 13-14: 

September 15-18: 

November 4-8: 

November 10-13: 

November 14-17: 

December 4-7: 
CSG National Conference - San Juan, PR 

* All times are CDT
Quick Links
The Midwestern Legislative Conference (MLC) Criminal Justice and Public Safety (CJPS) Committee's roster has been set for the 2019-2020 biennium! Returning as Co-Chair from the 2017-2018 biennium is Sen. Mattie Hunter of Illinois. Serving as the other Co-Chair is North Dakota Rep. Shannon Roers Jones, who served as the committee's Vice Chair in the last biennium. Joining them as the committee's Vice Chair for 2019-2020 is Indiana Sen. Michael Crider. The CJPS Committee officers will be joined by the following legislators:

Sen. Mattie Hunter, Co-Chair, Illinois

  • Sen. Steve McClure
  • Sen. Robert Peters
  • Sen. Elgie R. Sims Jr.
  • Rep. Ryan Hatfield
  • Rep. Wendy McNamara
  • Rep. Greg Steuerwald 
  • Sen. Mark Stoops
  • Sen. R. Michael Young
    Rep. Shannon Roers Jones, Co-Chair, North Dakota
  • Sen. Dan Dawson
  • Rep. Joe Mitchell
  • Rep. Mary Lynn Wolfe
  • Rep. Gail Finney
  • Rep. Shannon Francis
  • Sen. Vic Miller
  • Rep. John Resman
    Sen. Michael Crider, Vice Chair, Indiana
  • Sen. Eric Rucker
  • Sen. Richard Wilborn
  • Sen. Tom Barrett
  • Sen. Stephanie Chang
  • Rep. Jewell Jones
  • Rep. Sarah Lightner
  • Sen. Peter Lucido
  • Rep. Matt Maddock
  • Rep. Raymond Dehn
  • Rep. Ruth Richardson
  • Sen. Suzanne Geist
  • Sen. Matt Hansen
  • Sen. Steve Lathrop
North Dakota
  • Sen. Mike Dwyer
  • Rep. Karen Karls
  • Rep. Lawrence R. Klemin
  • Sen. Diane Larson
  • Sen. Merrill Piepkorn
  • Sen. Cecil Thomas
  • Sen. Sandra Williams
South Dakota
  • Rep. Steven Haugaard
  • Rep. Jon Hansen 
  • Rep. Ryan Cwach
  • Rep. Michael Schraa
  • Rep. John Spiros 
  • Ms. Nahanni Fontaine
  • Mr. Len Isleifson
  • Mr. Eric Olauson
  • Ms. Nicole Sarauer
Thank you all for agreeing to be part of the MLC Criminal Justice and Public Safety Committee. I look forward to meeting everyone in person at our Annual Committee Meeting during the Midwestern Legislative Conference. You can find details about both events in the sidebar calendar. 

The Council of State Governments (CSG) Justice Center recently made national news . Outlets like NPR and Axios covered the startling discoveries revealed in a new CSG Justice Center report, Confined and Costly: How Supervision Violations Are Filling Prisons and Burdening Budgets

The report shows that 45 percent of state prison admissions nationwide are the result of violations of probation and parole supervision, either for new crimes or breaking supervision rules. Additionally, more than half of state prison admissions in 20 states are the result of parole and probation violations. 

Working with Arnold Ventures and the Association of State Correctional Administrators, this innovative and state-by-state analysis also shows that a quarter of prison admissions are due to minor technical violations, like missed curfews or failed drug tests. 

Of the 20 states with more than half of prison admissions related to supervision violations, seven are in the Midwest. They are Wisconsin (70%), Kansas (68%), South Dakota (68%), Minnesota (65%), Iowa (56%), Indiana (53%), and Michigan (52%). 

The report also gives a state-by-state breakdown of how many people are incarcerated on a given day because of supervision violations, and how much the resulting incarcerations costs the state. For example, Wisconsin has 12,327 people incarcerated on a given day for parole and probation violations, costing the state $451 million annually. In Kansas, there are 3,326 people in a given day at a cost of $79 million annually. 
2019 Legislative Session Highlights

Illinois: While technically introduced in 2018, SB 0337 was signed by newly elected governor J.B. Pritzker on January 18, 2019. The legislation allows the state to regulate gun dealers and to gather information on private sales and illegal gun transfers. Gun dealers must now be certified by the Illinois State Police and provide annual training to employees. Additionally, gun store must have a video surveillance system. Certification will cost up to $300 for sellers without a retail location and $1,500 for retailers. 

Indiana: The state made great strides this Spring towards rectifying wrongs done to wrongfully convicted residents. H 1150 provides monetary awards for exonerated prisoners and will go into effect on November 1. Wrongfully convicted people who are approved for compensation are entitled to $50,000 per year spent in prison. The state's Legislative Services Agency estimates the resulting liability could reach $18.5 million, paid from an exoneration fund within the general fund. Applicants cannot have already received payment for a wrongful conviction or have a lawsuit(s) pending. 

Iowa: SF 589 is an omnibus bill that included several different criminal justice reforms. Part of the bill provides expungement opportunities for certain misdemeanors given that it has been more than eight years since the conviction, all court fees have been paid, and the applicant has not been granted two deferred judgments. The omnibus bill also makes all public alcohol consumption/public intoxication convictions simple misdemeanors. Previously, second and third convictions were considered a serious misdemeanor and an aggravated misdemeanor respectively; both carrying the possibility of jail time. It is estimated this will reduce Iowa's prison population by 72 inmates annually. 

Kansas: Also known as Claire and Lola's Law, SB 28 changed Kansas laws regarding the medical use of cannabidiol (CBD). It provides an affirmative defense for the possession of any CBD treatment preparation (with a tetrahydrocannibinol (THC) concentration of 5 percent or less) if the person has a debilitating medical condition or is the parent or guardian of a minor with a debilitation medical condition. Gwen and Scott Hartley, parents of Claire and Lola, urged passage of the bill. CBD oils helped relieve the seizures related to Lola's microcephaly, which causes neurological problems due to an abnormally small head. 

Michigan: One of the few states in the region still in session, the Michigan legislature is still considering a slew of criminal justice reforms. An eight bill package passed by the Senate and under consideration by the House would raise the age of who is considered a "juvenile" in the criminal justice system from 17 to 18 years old. Meanwhile, SB 2, HB 4001, and HB 4002 have already passed. This group of bills prohibits civil asset forfeitures unless the defendant is found guilty, especially pertaining to crimes involving controlled substances. 

Minnesota: In early May, Minnesota legislators and Governor Tim Walz removed a "marital rape exemption" from the state's statutes. HF 15 repealed statutory language saying "a person does not commit criminal sexual conduct... if the actor and complainant were adults cohabitating in an ongoing voluntary sexual relationship at the time of the alleged offense." 17 states, including Iowa, Michigan, and Ohio, still have some form of an exemption for spouses who rape partners when they are incapacitated or drugged. 

Nebraska: LB 595 seeks to "Provide for restorative justice... and in compulsory attendance collaboration plans and change provisions relating to mediators under the Parenting Act." The legislation codifies the use of restorative justice in the State Supreme Court's Office of Dispute Resolution. Restorative justice has been gaining in popularity recently due in part to research showing that offenders in these programs are able to contribute community safety and well-being, less likely to recidivate, and better able to make amends with their victims. Additionally, Nebraska passed LB 154 which is similar to North Dakota's legislation described below. 

North Dakota: HB 1311 and HB 1313 seek to improve how North Dakota handles cases of missing and murdered indigenous people, especially women. HB 1311 requires the state's police officers and prosecutors would receive training on these specific cases of missing and murdered Native Americans. HB 1313 requires the state's existing information-sharing system for law enforcement to include "data related to missing and murdered indigenous people." Further coverage and background of the bills can be found here

Ohio: Like Michigan, Ohio is one of the last regional legislatures still in session. As such, most criminal justice bills are still working their way through the body. Some bills that have passed the first chamber include: HB 1, modifying intervention in lieu of conviction/sealing requirements; SB 55, enhancing penalty for drug offense near addiction services provider; and SB 68, allowing community service in lieu of driver reinstatement fee. However, the bill receiving the most attention is SB 3. This legislation states it is the General Assembly's intent to "develop and enact legislation to reform Ohio's drug sentencing laws," with the ultimate goal of making drug possession infractions misdemeanors instead of felonies. 

South Dakota: The first piece of legislation signed by new Governor Kristi Noem in January was SB 47. This law allows South Dakotans to carry a concealed handgun without a permit. Also known as a "Constitutional carry" law, it retained the restrictions already in place on who can and can't carry a concealed handgun. Kansas and North Dakota also have "Constitutional carry" laws. 

Wisconsin: The last of the three Midwestern state legislatures still in session, Wisconsin has not yet made any major criminal justice system changes in 2019. With that being said, the state could potentially alter its cash bail system. SJR 13 is a constitutional amendment relating to the release of a person accused of a crime prior to conviction. If the joint resolution is approved, SB 98, SB 99, and SB 101 could take effect. If these bills are passed, all suspects would be "presumed" to be eligible for release, though judges would still weigh factors such as risk to the community and failure to appear in court. Any further changes to the state's cash bail system would have to meet specific criteria. More details about bail reform in Wisconsin and the rest of the Midwest can be found here
Thank you for reading. Watch for the next edition to come out in  
September 2019
Missed a newsletter? Past issues are  archived  on the committee's webpage.
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