Koch: Governor signs legislation imposing stricter penalties on drug dealers

Posted by: Peter Hoffman  | Monday, March 21, 2016

STATEHOUSE (March 21, 2016) – Gov. Mike Pence today signed into law a proposal co-authored by State Rep. Eric Koch (R-Bedford), which will provide stricter punishment for severe drug dealing offenses.

“The drug problem is multi-faceted and requires several different approaches, including treatment,” Koch said. “But removing from society those who profit from the drug trade is appropriate to ensure the safety and security of our communities.”

House Enrolled Act (HEA) 1235 specifies that the 10 year prison sentence for a Level 2 controlled substance offense is nonsuspendible if the offense involves methamphetamine or heroin, and the offender has a prior felony conviction for dealing cocaine, narcotic drugs or methamphetamine. 

“The scourge of drug abuse has brought heartbreak for far too many Hoosiers families,” said Gov. Pence. “Drug abuse problems are not unique to our state, but I’m determined to meet this challenge head-on here in Indiana. To start, I believe that any strategy to address drug abuse must start with enforcement. We need to make it clear that Indiana will not tolerate the actions of criminals, and I’m pleased to sign into law HEA 1235 to increase penalties on drug dealers.”

Other bills that were signed today focus on the enforcement, treatment, and prevention of drugs across the state. They establish a commission to combat drug abuse, make overdose intervention drugs more accessible statewide, and help addiction centers provide better care to patients.

“These bills represent a three part approach to the drug problem: enforcement, treatment and prevention,” Koch said.

Executive Director of the Indiana Prosecuting Attorneys Council, David N. Powell, said the organization supports HEA 1235. 

“HB 1235 creates an important tool to help law enforcement hold repeat drug dealers accountable,” Powell said. “It focuses on the highest level drug dealing offense and makes the minimum penalty nonsuspendible for serious felony drug dealings if the offender has a prior drug dealing felony conviction. Under current law, the entire sentence for the most serious drug felony offenses, including minimum sentences, can be suspended. We thank Rep. Koch and each of the sponsors of HB 1235 for their contribution to the safety of Indiana citizens.”  

The law will take effect July 1, 2016. Visit iga.in.gov for more information on HEA 1235.

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Rep. Koch (R-Bedford) represents all of Brown County, most of Lawrence County and parts of Monroe, Jackson and Johnson counties.

State Rep. Eric Koch (R-Bedford) watches as House Enrolled Act 1235, which he co-authored, is signed into law by Gov. Mike Pence. The signing took place at Hope Academy in Indianapolis on Monday, March 21.