Tribune Staff Reports
Four legislators, including one representing parts of Jackson County, were honored for their work in the General Assembly during the Indiana Prosecuting Attorneys Council annual awards ceremony Dec. 3 in Indianapolis.
The four honored by the council’s board of directors for their success with important legislation helping prosecutors and law enforcement officials were senators Eric Koch, R-Bedford, and Aaron Freeman, R-Indianapolis, and state representatives Ben Smaltz, R-Auburn, and Sharon Negele, R-Attica.
Koch, who presents District 44, was nominated by Washington County Prosecutor Dustin Houchin and chosen both for his tireless work as a member of the Senate Criminal Code Committee and his assistance on impaired driving legislation, according to a news release from the council.
District 44 includes all of Brown and Lawrence counties and parts of Bartholomew, Monroe and Jackson counties. That includes Brownstown, Medora and Seymour in Jackson County.
Thanks to his work, it is much easier to charge drug-impaired drivers and operating while intoxicated causing death, said Houchin, who also praised Koch for his work on crimes of violence with Negele, ensuring violent offenders are held accountable.
Smaltz was recognized for his work on the 2018 INSPECT legislation, dealing with the opioid crisis and past work in limited access to pseudoephedrine.
Negele authored or sponsored several key bills for prosecutors during the session, including bills dealing with crimes of violence, sex offenders and synthetic drugs.
Freeman was chosen for the legislative award thanks to his work on a number of important issues in the interest of public safety, including harsher penalties for sex offenders and drug traffickers, as well as forfeiture reform. He also fought from the Senate floor to keep the Level 6 felony enhancement for theft with a prior conviction from being repealed.