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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

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Cases: 764448

Reported Deaths: 13965
CountyCasesDeaths
Marion1049701803
Lake567981029
Allen42685698
St. Joseph37253568
Hamilton37131426
Elkhart29699470
Tippecanoe23347230
Vanderburgh23106404
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Johnson18755391
Hendricks18012321
Madison13463345
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Monroe12494178
Delaware11100198
Howard10612237
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Hancock8707149
Bartholomew8235157
Warrick8031157
Floyd7975181
Grant7337181
Wayne7222201
Boone7145105
Morgan6886142
Marshall6323116
Dubois6267118
Cass6083111
Dearborn598578
Noble595790
Henry5939111
Jackson514677
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Lawrence4901127
Gibson460696
Montgomery454492
Clinton453555
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Harrison450576
Whitley414745
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Steuben409560
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Jasper399455
Knox387091
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White338954
Daviess3084100
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Posey280435
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