Indiana Gov. Eric Holcomb said Wednesday he will try to build public support for a hate crimes law, a week after the Republican-dominated state Senate stripped out a list of specific protected traits he had supported to get Indiana off a list of five states without such a law.
An Indiana man charged in the road rage shooting death of a Muslim man allegedly yelled “go back to your country” and made ethnic and religious insults against the victim before the shooting, according to court documents.
The Republican-dominated Indiana Senate passed a stripped-down hate crimes bill Thursday and sent the measure to the House, where Republican Gov. Eric Holcomb and others hope the legislation can still be strengthened. The Senate voted 39-10 in favor of the legislation that was changed two days earlier to remove a list of specifically protected characteristics, including sexual orientation, gender identity and race.
The Republican-majority Senate stripped a hate crimes bill Tuesday of language that specified the types of crimes it would apply to — those motivated by race, religion, sexual orientation, gender and other categories — despite emotional pleas by Democrats to leave the bill as written.
After more than three hours of testimony and discussion on Monday morning, the Senate Public Policy Committee voted to send a bias crimes bill to the full Senate for consideration. Senate Bill 12 would give judges the ability to consider whether a crime was committed out of hate or bias toward specific groups of individuals as an aggravating circumstance at sentencing.
A proposed Indiana hate crimes law has been endorsed by a state legislative committee. The Senate Public Policy Committee voted 9-1 on Monday to advance the bill to the full Senate after hearing nearly three hours of public testimony from opponents and supporters of the legislation.
As they did in January 2018, supporters of hate crimes legislation rallied Tuesday in the Indiana Statehouse to again push lawmakers to add a bias-motivated crime statute to the Indiana law books. Advocates from a broad array of groups, including business, education, nonprofits and faith-based organizations, were on-hand to applaud and cheer as legislators and community leaders called for Indiana to join the 45 other states with hate crimes law.
The priorities for Indiana House Republicans this year align with Gov. Eric Holcomb’s agenda, but one significant issue did not make the list: a hate crimes bill.
In an effort to remove Indiana from a list of five states without hate crimes legislation, lawmakers have filed three separate bills so far in the Indiana General Assembly, but the latest measure does not specify the classes of individuals and groups who would be protected.
Indiana lawmakers are set to begin their four-month legislative session, facing a tight state budget picture and a possibly contentious debate over adopting a state hate crimes law.
Among the biggest issues the 2019 General Assembly will have to contend with is the Department of Child Services, which is still reeling after a tumultuous year that saw a leader abruptly resign and a national group identify several shortcomings in the department’s operations. Gov. Eric Holcomb is calling on lawmakers to devote significant financial resources to the struggling department, and all four legislative leaders say their caucuses plan to make DCS a top priority.
The spray-painting of a swastika outside a suburban Indianapolis synagogue this summer was the final straw for Republican Gov. Eric Holcomb, who quickly called for Indiana to join the 45 states that have hate crime laws.
Legislative leaders to focus on DCS funding, teacher pay in ‘extraordinarily difficult’ budget session
In what the Indiana House Speaker said is likely to be an “extraordinarily difficult” budget session, Indiana’s legislative leaders plan to focus their efforts during this year’s legislative session on budget-impacting legislation, such as funding for the embattled Department of Child Services and increasing teacher pay.
Indiana lawmakers returned to the Statehouse on Tuesday for the ceremonial start to the new legislative session.
Two Republican state lawmakers have released draft legislation that would address Indiana’s lack of a hate crimes law by giving judges the ability to consider bias as an aggravating factor when considering prison sentences.
A central Indiana woman allegedly left a note on a neighbor’s home filled with racist slurs targeting the family’s black son and warning “this is a white neighborhood.”
Robert Gregory Bowers killed eight men and three women at a Pittsburgh synagogue on Saturday before a tactical police team tracked him down and shot him, according to state and federal affidavits made public on Sunday. The gunman is set to appear in federal court Monday morning, and prosecutors are planning to seek the death penalty.
Several hours of testimony before a legislative study committee charged with examining a potential hate crimes law for Indiana heavily underscored one central point: there are many opinions and no common ground.
Federal prosecutors say they’ve made arrests in connection to anti-Semitic graffiti that was spray-painted at a Carmel synagogue last month.