Indiana governor plans major role in hate crimes debate

Holcomb

Gov. Eric Holcomb asserted Thursday that he'll be in the middle of the Legislature's potentially contentious debate over adopting a state hate crimes law.

Posted: Jan 4, 2019 9:26 AM

INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — Gov. Eric Holcomb asserted Thursday that he'll be in the middle of the Legislature's potentially contentious debate over adopting a state hate crimes law.

The Republican governor told reporters just before state lawmakers gathered in the Statehouse to start their 2019 session that he was hopeful a bill would pass after conservatives blocked similar proposals in recent years.

When asked how active he would be in lobbying the GOP-dominated Legislature for the bill, Holcomb replied "uber."

Indiana is one of just five states without laws specifically against crimes fueled by biases regarding race, religion and sexual orientation.

Holcomb repeated his stance that adopting a law is "the right thing to do," but emphasized the situation was hurting Indiana's attempts to recruit businesses to the state.

"There's no reason why we can't be on the same list as our competitors like Florida and Tennessee and Virginia and Texas," he said. "We need to get on the right list and off the list that's holding us potentially back."

Repeated efforts for an Indiana law have failed amid fierce opposition from conservatives who maintain it would unfairly create specially protected classes of victims and wrongly restrict free speech.

Hate crime laws in other states vary to some degree but generally allow for stiffer sentences to be given to people who are convicted of crimes motivated by hatred or bias. Only Indiana, Georgia, South Carolina, Wyoming and Arkansas do not.

A key question in the Indiana debate will be whether an Indiana law should include sexual orientation and gender identity. Democrats strongly support such provisions, but the lopsided Republican majorities — 67-33 in the House and 40-10 in the Senate — mean social conservatives could again derail the bill.

Republican House Speaker Brian Bosma said he expected a few weeks could pass before legislative committees are ready to take action on the issue. But he makes similar economic arguments to Holcomb for adopting a hate crimes law.

"Employers are asking about this issue now," Bosma said. "They weren't two years ago or three years ago as they decide where to locate their employees."

Bosma has warned a drawn-out debate could lead to Indiana facing national derision as it did over the 2015 religious objections law that critics widely panned as a sanctioning of discrimination against the LGBT community and resulted in the state facing boycott threats.

Holcomb is taking a stronger stance after doing little public lobbying in seeking a hate crimes law during his first two years in office — and is calling for a law that includes sexual orientation and gender identity as the state employee anti-harassment policy has done under Holcomb and his Republican predecessors Mitch Daniels and Mike Pence.

"Nothing could be easier than getting this passed and signed into law, just like the employment policy that I have and have had in this executive branch since 2005," he said.

West Lafayette
Clear
75° wxIcon
Hi: 87° Lo: 64°
Feels Like: 75°
Kokomo
Partly Cloudy
77° wxIcon
Hi: 85° Lo: 63°
Feels Like: 79°
Rensselaer
Clear
77° wxIcon
Hi: 85° Lo: 63°
Feels Like: 78°
Fowler
Clear
75° wxIcon
Hi: 86° Lo: 63°
Feels Like: 75°
Williamsport
Clear
78° wxIcon
Hi: 87° Lo: 62°
Feels Like: 79°
Crawfordsville
Clear
75° wxIcon
Hi: 87° Lo: 62°
Feels Like: 75°
Frankfort
Clear
75° wxIcon
Hi: 85° Lo: 62°
Feels Like: 75°
Delphi
Clear
77° wxIcon
Hi: 88° Lo: 64°
Feels Like: 78°
Monticello
Clear
74° wxIcon
Hi: 87° Lo: 66°
Feels Like: 74°
Logansport
Clear
75° wxIcon
Hi: 87° Lo: 62°
Feels Like: 75°
Warm and windy with plenty of sunshine!
WLFI Temps
WLFI Planner

Indiana Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 947918

Reported Deaths: 15377
CountyCasesDeaths
Marion1291181990
Lake635721103
Allen53899761
Hamilton44082449
St. Joseph42122590
Elkhart33803491
Vanderburgh30574449
Tippecanoe26915251
Johnson23727418
Hendricks22410342
Porter21832347
Clark17562231
Madison17492385
Vigo16302285
Monroe14545191
LaPorte14389239
Delaware14183222
Howard13971273
Kosciusko11498135
Hancock10935166
Warrick10737178
Bartholomew10635170
Floyd10514208
Wayne10077226
Grant9213204
Morgan8928160
Boone8463111
Dubois7791123
Dearborn769490
Henry7691133
Noble7466101
Marshall7409128
Cass7219118
Lawrence7026153
Shelby6647111
Jackson661386
Gibson6190107
Harrison609386
Huntington604495
Montgomery5853105
DeKalb581091
Knox5535104
Miami548888
Putnam543268
Clinton537465
Whitley529354
Steuben501768
Wabash488692
Jasper483861
Jefferson474492
Ripley457777
Adams446068
Daviess4231108
Scott409165
Clay394957
White393858
Greene393392
Wells389884
Decatur388797
Fayette378578
Posey362341
Jennings356056
Washington334747
LaGrange325175
Spencer321136
Fountain318455
Randolph317190
Sullivan309449
Owen287064
Starke282864
Fulton280454
Orange277859
Jay257038
Perry254152
Carroll245229
Franklin242838
Rush237030
Vermillion235050
Parke221420
Tipton212055
Pike211740
Blackford170534
Pulaski168551
Crawford147318
Newton145845
Benton143916
Brown135846
Martin130217
Switzerland126910
Warren115616
Union98511
Ohio80511
Unassigned0482

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