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Senate approves bill allowing parolee searches

State lawmakers on Tuesday approved a bill allowing police officers to search a parolee they reasonably suspect has committed or is about to commit a crime.

Senate Bill 40, which would allow the searches, was approved Tuesday in a voice vote before the Senate with no debate. The bill earlier this month received unanimous approval from the Senate Committee on Transportation, Public Safety and Veterans and Military Affairs.

The director of state courts office, in a report estimating the bill’s potential effects, said it likely will lead to increased litigation, but could not predict how great that increase would be.

According to the report, the bill “will increase the number of cases in which issues of the lawfulness of the search or seizure and/or admissibility of any evidence obtained will be before the circuit and appellate courts.”

In its report on the bill’s effects, the Department of Corrections said it could not say with certainty if the proposed change would result in more convictions for parole violations or in more revocations of parole privileges. If the legislation does produce an increase, however, the DOC said, the state could end up spending more to incarcerate inmates.

According to the report, it cost the state an average of $33,200 to hold an inmate in a state institution in 2012.

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