BREAKING NEWS Longtime Purdue basketball radio voice Larry Clisby dies at 74 Full Story
SEVERE WX : Flood Warning View Alerts

Black Indiana lawmakers seek reprimands after confrontations

The Indiana Black Legislative Caucus called Tuesday for lawmakers who sparked confrontations with Black legislators last week to face reprimands and for all lawmakers to undergo mandatory anti-bias training.

Posted: Feb 23, 2021 2:34 PM

INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — The Indiana Black Legislative Caucus called Tuesday for lawmakers who sparked confrontations with Black legislators last week to face reprimands and for all lawmakers to undergo mandatory anti-bias training.

The request came after tempers flared among Indiana House members on Thursday. Black lawmakers were shouted down and booed by some Republicans during a debate and some verbal altercations took place in hallways.

Democratic Rep. Robin Shackleford of Indianapolis, the Black caucus chairwoman, called the conduct of some Republican members aggressive and intimidating and said it was time to “say enough is enough.”

Shackleford said she and other Black caucus members met with Republican House Speaker Todd Huston and asked for reprimands, training on implicit racial bias and for greater safety assurances for lawmakers against hostile behavior.

The steps are needed because of offensive social media posts and comments from some Republican House members, Shackleford said.

“We can’t tell who all is racist over there. We hear some of the comments,” she said.

Huston didn’t address the Black caucus’ requests on Tuesday, saying in a statement he was committed to maintaining “decorum, civility and professionalism.” Huston, who is in his first full year as speaker, told House members on Monday that they should be considerate of different perspectives and must be more respectful of lawmakers speaking in accordance with House rules.

“It’s not my nature to be heavy-handed in enforcement, but make no mistake going forward that will be the case,” Huston said.

Last week’s confrontations started when Black lawmakers spoke against a bill allowing a rural, mostly white township in St. Joseph County to leave the South Bend Community Schools, which is about 60% Black or Hispanic, and called the proposal discriminatory and racist.

Several Republican members booed, said loudly “no” and “stop,” and some started leaving the House meeting room. An argument erupted in a hallway between Republican Sean Eberhart of Shelbyville, who is white, and Democratic Rep. Vanessa Summers of Indianapolis, who is Black. Other legislators separated them.

Democratic Rep. Vernon Smith of Gary, who is Black, said he was called a bully by Republican Rep. Alan Morrison of Brazil, who is white, when they were in a restroom. Smith said Morrison kept berating him in the hallway until Morrison was pulled aside by another legislator.

“I understand that what I say often is not comfortable for some of my colleagues,” Smith, who’s been a House member for 31 years, said Tuesday. “What I was offended by is that one of my colleagues wanted to shut me up. I think that I have a right to speak my opinions.”

Morrison declined through his legislative press secretary to comment to The Associated Press. Morrison told The Indianapolis Star he wouldn’t talk about what happened.

“What happens between two grown men, I won’t say anything,” Morrison said. “He can say whatever he wants, but I’ve got no comment on it.”

The Black caucus is made up of 14 House members or senators among the 150 state lawmakers. All are Democrats from Indianapolis or northwestern Indiana’s Lake County.

The Republican-dominated House narrowly approved the school district bill on a 52-43 vote as 14 Republicans joined Democrats in voting against the proposal, sending it to the Senate for consideration.

Lafayette
Clear
56° wxIcon
Hi: 55° Lo: 39°
Feels Like: 56°
Kokomo
Partly Cloudy
49° wxIcon
Hi: 50° Lo: 36°
Feels Like: 47°
Rensselaer
Clear
50° wxIcon
Hi: 49° Lo: 34°
Feels Like: 50°
Lafayette
Clear
56° wxIcon
Hi: 53° Lo: 36°
Feels Like: 56°
Danville
Clear
54° wxIcon
Hi: 54° Lo: 38°
Feels Like: 54°
Frankfort
Clear
52° wxIcon
Hi: 55° Lo: 38°
Feels Like: 52°
Frankfort
Partly Cloudy
52° wxIcon
Hi: 53° Lo: 37°
Feels Like: 52°
Monticello
Clear
49° wxIcon
Hi: 53° Lo: 38°
Feels Like: 49°
Monticello
Clear
49° wxIcon
Hi: 53° Lo: 38°
Feels Like: 49°
Logansport
Clear
46° wxIcon
Hi: 48° Lo: 36°
Feels Like: 46°
Warmest weather since December is ahead with good timing with the weekend rainfall...
WLFI Radar
WLFI Temps
WLFI Planner

WLFI is promoting fire safety with FREE smoke detectors

 WLFI and several local fire departments are helping with your fire safety this winter. CLICK HERE. 

Indiana Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 660071

Reported Deaths: 12531
CountyCasesDeaths
Marion904161633
Lake48298874
Allen35720633
Hamilton31970396
St. Joseph29796510
Elkhart25331412
Vanderburgh21192377
Tippecanoe19927199
Johnson16312356
Porter15917269
Hendricks15785300
Clark11913180
Madison11717315
Vigo11562229
Monroe10300159
Delaware9824179
LaPorte9739196
Howard9038195
Kosciusko8539108
Bartholomew7424147
Hancock7399130
Warrick7399150
Floyd7180167
Wayne6622191
Grant6413157
Boone606888
Morgan6066124
Dubois5890111
Dearborn544466
Cass542899
Marshall5414104
Henry541392
Noble508476
Jackson464165
Shelby459890
Lawrence4174111
Gibson400981
Harrison397863
Clinton394453
Montgomery385083
DeKalb384378
Knox356285
Miami356163
Whitley348435
Huntington341876
Steuben337455
Wabash330576
Putnam328259
Ripley326461
Adams322149
Jasper314843
White297152
Jefferson293773
Daviess285096
Fayette271156
Decatur270188
Greene260780
Posey260431
Wells257174
Scott250050
LaGrange240770
Clay240344
Randolph225376
Spencer216930
Jennings214344
Washington209927
Sullivan202939
Fountain201042
Starke187250
Owen181953
Fulton177937
Jay177528
Carroll176218
Perry173335
Orange170950
Rush164322
Vermillion160141
Franklin159135
Tipton145941
Parke138615
Pike127432
Blackford120527
Pulaski106544
Newton96531
Brown94839
Benton91713
Crawford90313
Martin80114
Warren75312
Switzerland7527
Union66910
Ohio52911
Unassigned0433

COVID-19 Important links and resources

As the spread of COVID-19, or as it's more commonly known as the coronavirus continues, this page will serve as your one-stop for the resources you need to stay informed and to keep you and your family safe. CLICK HERE

Closings related to the prevention of the COVID-19 can be found on our Closings page.

Community Events