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Push for hate crimes law fails again in Indiana Legislature

Indiana will remain one of just five states without a hate crimes law

Posted: Jan 30, 2018 2:23 PM

INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — Indiana will remain one of just five states without a hate crimes law after key lawmakers in the GOP-dominated Senate announced Tuesday that they were abandoning a bill targeting crimes motivated by bias.

Leaders of Indiana’s GOP-dominated Statehouse have consistently opposed hate crimes legislation. But that changed this year in the wake of clashes between white supremacists and counter demonstrators in Charlottesville, Virginia, that left one woman dead in August.

The bill by Republican Sen. Sue Glick had support from GOP leaders, including House Speaker Brian Bosma and Senate leader David Long. Then on Tuesday the chairman of a key Senate committee decided to not take a vote on the bill.

“It’s a matter of peoples’ opinions. We just couldn’t come to consensus,” Long, of Fort Wayne, said late at a press conference announcing the effort was done for the year.

A deep thread of social conservatism runs throughout the state and lawmakers, headed into an election year, faced intense pressure from activists who argue that creating a hate crimes law would create a special protected class of victims.

At the same time, much of Indiana’s business community was in lock-step support of the measure, which they say is important to lure talent and new business to the state.

Indianapolis was named one of 20 finalists competing to be the location of a second Amazon headquarters. A coalition of central Indiana municipal officials, including Republicans, had pushed for a hate crimes law in hopes of making the state more appealing.

Despite his support for the measure, Long dismissed their worries.

“I really don’t think it should affect anything,” said Long. “Nor do I think we should tailor all of our legislation in hopes that a company would locate here. I would hope they’d be coming to Indiana because we are a welcoming state, because we have a great economy and we have low cost of living.”

The bill by Glick, a former county prosecutor from LaGrange County, would have specifically allowed a judge to take into account whether a crime was motivated by someone’s race, religion, color, sex, gender identity, disability, national origin, ancestry, sexual orientation or ethnicity. It would also require such crimes to be reported to the FBI. Currently, Indiana law enforcement agencies are not required to do so.

Advocates say anecdotal accounts suggest the number of so-called bias crimes are on the rise and the Southern Poverty Law Center reports 26 active hate groups in the state.

Democratic Sen. Greg Taylor, of Indianapolis, ripped Republicans for being content with the status quo.

“What we did today was say to companies like Amazon ... ‘We don’t need your business, we don’t need your economic development, we don’t need your jobs,’” said Taylor. “We are comfortable with the status quo.”

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Indiana Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 708779

Reported Deaths: 13226
CountyCasesDeaths
Marion966191721
Lake51761946
Allen39224672
Hamilton34549405
St. Joseph34157541
Elkhart27356432
Vanderburgh22081394
Tippecanoe21853212
Porter17935299
Johnson17544374
Hendricks16822310
Clark12697190
Madison12353337
Vigo12219244
Monroe11469166
LaPorte11162204
Delaware10366184
Howard9664211
Kosciusko9134114
Hancock7990139
Bartholomew7893155
Warrick7691155
Floyd7563176
Wayne6906198
Grant6844171
Boone6556100
Morgan6405138
Dubois6085117
Marshall5786108
Dearborn570376
Cass5685102
Henry5579101
Noble542683
Jackson493569
Shelby479495
Lawrence4342118
Gibson429089
Harrison428570
Clinton419753
Montgomery418086
DeKalb411184
Whitley380239
Huntington379880
Miami372865
Knox366689
Steuben365757
Putnam353160
Jasper350946
Wabash347878
Adams338052
Ripley334668
Jefferson313180
White308454
Daviess289499
Wells286481
Decatur279092
Fayette277262
Greene270785
Posey268833
Scott261153
LaGrange253670
Clay253544
Randolph235680
Washington231031
Spencer228031
Jennings225047
Fountain208845
Sullivan207942
Starke204752
Owen192356
Fulton192039
Jay186429
Carroll185920
Perry180736
Orange177853
Rush170724
Vermillion166043
Franklin165635
Tipton161043
Parke144616
Blackford133831
Pike130334
Pulaski113845
Newton104234
Brown100140
Crawford97614
Benton97113
Martin82915
Warren79715
Switzerland7698
Union69910
Ohio55811
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