INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. (WLFI) — When it comes to next year's agenda, Indiana Governor Eric Holcomb said it will be much of the same.
Holcomb is proud of the state's success in 2018, especially with the Indiana's efforts to fight the drug epidemic.
"The volume of opioids is starting to narrow, which is good," said Gov. Holcomb. "The number of beds for treatment is increasing."
He said it will continue to be a priority in 2019 and so will economic development.
"West Lafayette area is on fire," said Holcomb.
However, in order to bring Indiana to the next level, Holcomb believes hate crime legislation is necessary. It may help bring more people and development to the state.
"They say they're known for their Hoosier Hospitality, are they? Is it reflected in their code and law?" asked Holcomb as if he were a potential developer in Indiana.
"What's it going to take to get a hate crime bill passed this next session?" asked News 18's Kayla Sullivan.
"Leadership, effort, and dispelling myth," replied Holcomb.
He said one of the biggest problems facing the hate crime bill is the misconception it will infringe on free speech.
"Nothing could be further from the truth but I heard that a lot last year," said Holcomb. "If you want to think something that I don't agree with, so be it, but if you cross a line and commit a crime, then the state of Indiana is going to be known as a state that stands not just with the victim but we just don't tolerate that."
He's confident lawmakers will get on the same page.
"I'm encouraged by the response and we aren't even to day one yet," said Holcomb.
He's also encouraged by the state's response to a couple of school shootings in 2018. He said both situations highlight the importance of preparation.
"That protocol was put into place, A, for a reason and B, showed that it worked," said Holcomb.
Next year, he wants to emphasize prevention measures available in the state.
"Making sure schools know the closeness and the accessibility of mental health resources," said Holcomb.
Before ending the year and the interview, Holcomb wanted people in WLFI's viewing area to know he thinks 2019 is going to be the best year.
"Tippecanoe County is on a roll it is growing and it's one of the real engines to our economy," said Holcomb. "And oh, by the way, Boiler Up, Hammer Down, we are going to go win a Bowl Game!"
Holcomb also didn't want to forget those West Lafayette Elementary students who helped make the firefly the state insect in 2018.
He said he's looking for more ways to engage younger people and involve them in the legislative process.
We can expect an announcement on how next month.
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