INDIANAPOLIS (WLFI) — For the first time in Senator Ron Alting's career at the Statehouse, a Governor has shown his full support for a hate crime law in Indiana. We are currently one of five states without one.
"It's certainly time for Indiana to join the good list, the nice list, not the naughty list as the holidays approach," said Governor Eric Holcomb on Friday.
Senator Ron Alting is helping to get the bill through this year. He said Senate Bill 12 is already filed for the 2019 session. He's hoping it's sent to his committee next.
"I have a reputation of getting bills through that have not gotten through in the past," said Alting.
Whether Senator Ron Alting's Hate Crime Bill will end up in his Public Policy Committee is up to President Pro Tem Senator Rodric Bray.
"Hopefully in three weeks we will know what committee the bill is assigned," said Alting.
Alting said this version covers more people known to be victims of hate crimes.
"Last year, it was very narrow and it only dealt with individuals, not organizations," said Alting. "Second piece is that it deals with reporting. Mandatory reporting to State Police and the FBI."
But some groups feel this law isn't needed. Indiana Family Institute Director Ryan McCann said the bill could be used to attack religious freedom and free speech.
He said it also sends the message not everyone is currently protected by the law and that Indiana is a bigoted, hateful place.
Alting said recent hate crimes prove it's a real problem in Indiana and it's time to level the playing field.
"Unfortunately, certain entities of people are targeted out for numerous reasons, we listed I think 15 in our bill that are targeted for just hate actions on them, not verbal," said Alting.
Alting said this bill doesn't infringe on people's rights.
"If you want to do a free speech and you want to talk about the KKK and open speech, that's not in this," said Alting. "But if you act upon your thoughts, you make an action, physical action towards it, then you qualify."
The Indiana Chamber of Commerce has also voiced support for Indiana to pass a hate crimes bill this session.