INDIANAPOLIS — A House-approved plan to compensate innocent Hoosiers wrongfully incarcerated at the Indiana Department of Correction, sometimes for decades, is advancing in the Indiana Senate.

The Senate Committee on Corrections and Criminal Law made minor revisions Tuesday to House Bill 1150 before voting 7-0 to forward it to the Appropriations Committee for further analysis of its financial impact on the state.

The legislation permits a person who is convicted of a crime he or she did not commit and later is exonerated to receive $50,000 for each year the person needlessly spent behind bars.

However, as a condition of receiving that payment through the Indiana Criminal Justice Institute, the measure requires the exoneree drop any pending lawsuits and waive all claims relating to the wrongful conviction against the state, a local government, or any public official or employee.

The committee-approved revisions clarify that an exoneree with a pending lawsuit is not required to drop it until his or her claim for the $50,000 a year payment is approved, sharpens the definition of innocence and permits innocent county jail inmates to also seek restitution.

In addition, the timetable for seeking state payment was changed to give past exonerees until Nov. 1, 2021, to file a claim.

Future exonerees would have two years following a vacated conviction or a governor's pardon to request payment.

State records show at least 34 individuals, who spent a total of 369 years locked up for crimes they didn't commit, may be eligible for up to $18.4 million in payments if the measure becomes law.

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