Gov. Holcomb plans public appeal on Indiana hate crimes law

Indiana Gov. Eric Holcomb said Wednesday he will try to build public support for a hate crimes law, a week after the Republican-dominated state Senate stripped out a list of specific protected traits he had supported to get Indiana off a list of five states without such a law.

Posted: Feb 27, 2019 10:19 PM

INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — Indiana Gov. Eric Holcomb said Wednesday he will try to build public support for a hate crimes law, a week after the Republican-dominated state Senate stripped out a list of specific protected traits he had supported to get Indiana off a list of five states without such a law.

The Republican governor told a Statehouse news conference that he might not have stressed strongly enough to the public how important it is for Indiana to adopt a hate crimes law with a list of protected traits, such as race, gender, age, religion and sexual orientation.

Social conservatives oppose such a list and Republican senators voted last week to remove it, replacing it in the bill with the words “including bias” to current state code on factors a judge may consider in determining criminal sentences. That move immediately drew criticism from Holcomb, civil rights activists and business leaders.

Holcomb said he will encourage Indiana residents to contact their legislators and appeal to them to pass a law with a specific list of protected traits as the House takes up the issue in the coming weeks.

“They need to contact the legislators that vote — their legislator — and respectfully appeal to their hearts and minds why this is important not to just to them but to the life of our state and the future of our state,” he said. “This is about now, but also where we’re going to be in 5, 10, 15 years.”

Holcomb has said that Indiana is “long overdue” to adopt such a law following the spray-painting of a swastika outside a suburban Indianapolis synagogue last summer. He’s called it the moral thing to do and said it could also help with economic development because it would make Indiana appear more tolerant.

He said when this year’s legislative session opened in early January that he would be “uber” involved in the hate crimes law debate, but has done little publicly to push for such a law beyond discussing it during his State of the State address six weeks ago.

Holcomb said Wednesday that his administration would be “hyperactive” on working for passage of such a law before the legislative session ends in late April.

Democrats are united in supporting the list and say Holcomb must be more vocal on the issue as 33 Republican senators showed they were willing to vote against one of his priority bills.

“This is going to need a concerted effort by all groups and folks around the state, starting with the governor and business leaders,” House Democratic Leader Phil GiaQuinta of Fort Wayne said Tuesday. “We’re going to really need their help.”

Senate Democratic Leader Tim Lanane of Anderson faulted Republicans for replacing the list with “two words and a comma,” saying “It just simply doesn’t get the job done.”

The hate crimes debate follows the controversy over a 2015 Indiana law that critics said allowed gay people to be discriminated against. The law was later changed, but only after a national backlash and threats of a boycott.

Republican House Speaker Brian Bosma said several Indiana business executives called him after the Senate vote to argue in favor of including the list, but for weeks he’s warned of significant opposition among GOP House members to the full list.

While getting Indiana off the list of states without a hate crimes law is important for business recruitment, Bosma said opposition goes beyond including sexual orientation and gender identity in the proposal.

“There are plenty of people in our caucus who believe we should take no action on this, it is not a necessity, it’s not an issue in their community,” he said. “It isn’t just about those two categories, it’s about whether there is a list and whether we have to take this action at all.”

An overwhelming majority of states have hate crime laws, which 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.

Holcomb said Wednesday that Indiana needs a bias law that specifically details the covered characteristics, and suggested that lawmakers could simply take the wording from the federal hate crimes law and put that into state law for judges to consider in sentencings.

“I would use the specific words. I want to get away from the vagueness,” he said. “I have a lot of respect for the legislators upstairs who have a deeply rooted legal knowledge, but I also know what gets us off the list and I’ve looked at other states that have been vague and that will just not suffice.”

Terre Haute
Clear
79° wxIcon
Hi: 87° Lo: 62°
Feels Like: 81°
Robinson
Clear
82° wxIcon
Hi: 87° Lo: 63°
Feels Like: 82°
Indianapolis
Clear
77° wxIcon
Hi: 84° Lo: 65°
Feels Like: 79°
Rockville
Clear
81° wxIcon
Hi: 85° Lo: 60°
Feels Like: 83°
Casey
Clear
80° wxIcon
Hi: 87° Lo: 61°
Feels Like: 81°
Brazil
Clear
79° wxIcon
Hi: 85° Lo: 62°
Feels Like: 81°
Marshall
Clear
79° wxIcon
Hi: 86° Lo: 59°
Feels Like: 81°
A Breezy, Mild Night
WTHI Planner
WTHI Temps
WTHI Radar

Latest Video

Image

King City Royals Cap off Undefeated Season with Championship Title

Image

Medical Minute: Heart Health

Image

Wabash Valley farmer says soybeans are in good shape

Image

Local Vigo County parents speak out against CPR program

Image

All You Need to Know for Tuesday

Image

Rick's Rallies

Image

IU Basketball media day

Image

TH South-West Vigo Soccer

Image

Religion and the COVID-19 vaccine

Image

Next Step Terre Haute - Recovery with the touch of a button

WTHI Events

 

Illinois Coronavirus Cases

(Widget updates once daily at 7 p.m. CT)

Cases: 1618800

Reported Deaths: 27293
CountyCasesDeaths
Cook61736011008
DuPage1046611362
Will880201094
Lake777031062
Kane66333853
Winnebago39340548
Madison38593580
St. Clair35266573
McHenry33333318
Peoria26153363
Champaign26090186
Sangamon24861275
McLean22133209
Tazewell19930326
Rock Island18002350
Kankakee16955235
Kendall15607107
Macon14654245
LaSalle14590279
Vermilion13453190
Adams12764148
DeKalb11778129
Williamson11621162
Whiteside7981176
Jackson779490
Boone766082
Coles7462113
Ogle720487
Grundy707482
Franklin7007100
Clinton684999
Knox6791166
Marion6617138
Macoupin6562101
Henry631374
Effingham619582
Jefferson6154136
Livingston575296
Woodford558591
Stephenson553390
Randolph535197
Monroe511899
Christian498081
Fulton495370
Morgan490596
Logan480174
Montgomery472176
Lee461560
Bureau429888
Perry418372
Saline416567
Fayette407259
Iroquois399373
McDonough358956
Jersey326053
Shelby319943
Crawford310230
Douglas309036
Lawrence305432
Union297947
Wayne279057
White269132
Richland266556
Hancock260734
Pike258556
Clark255238
Cass253829
Bond245624
Clay244148
Edgar238445
Ford236258
Warren228862
Carroll226837
Johnson215925
Moultrie214231
Jo Daviess208126
Washington207228
Wabash205417
Massac201744
Mason201151
Greene200939
De Witt198130
Piatt193114
Mercer192234
Cumberland180626
Menard162612
Jasper154018
Marshall135821
Hamilton130021
Brown10268
Pulaski100011
Schuyler9779
Edwards97016
Stark77627
Gallatin7597
Scott6985
Alexander68211
Henderson66814
Calhoun6472
Hardin56615
Putnam5494
Pope4995
Unassigned1772432
Out of IL90

Indiana Coronavirus Cases

(Widget updates once daily at 8 p.m. ET)

Cases: 954230

Reported Deaths: 15474
CountyCasesDeaths
Marion1298902003
Lake638781106
Allen54326765
Hamilton44326448
St. Joseph42368592
Elkhart33998491
Vanderburgh30740451
Tippecanoe27012251
Johnson23862420
Hendricks22576343
Porter21943348
Clark17657231
Madison17628387
Vigo16465285
Monroe14637193
LaPorte14493241
Delaware14291225
Howard14058274
Kosciusko11562137
Hancock11022168
Warrick10793179
Bartholomew10730171
Floyd10584209
Wayne10169230
Grant9271206
Morgan9000160
Boone8507112
Dubois7823124
Dearborn776391
Henry7749134
Noble7510101
Marshall7452129
Cass7244118
Lawrence7080154
Shelby6701111
Jackson666386
Gibson6233107
Harrison613287
Huntington608397
Montgomery5903106
DeKalb587591
Knox5589105
Miami554889
Putnam547668
Clinton540566
Whitley534054
Steuben506570
Wabash492792
Jasper487763
Jefferson478992
Ripley463477
Adams448868
Daviess4267109
Scott413065
Clay398358
Greene396892
White396158
Wells393285
Decatur391297
Fayette383380
Posey364341
Jennings358857
Washington336847
LaGrange327375
Spencer323037
Randolph320290
Fountain320156
Sullivan311349
Owen289764
Starke287565
Fulton282356
Orange279259
Jay260038
Perry256353
Carroll247129
Franklin244938
Rush238930
Vermillion237751
Parke222421
Tipton214255
Pike214041
Blackford172934
Pulaski170351
Crawford148519
Newton147046
Benton144716
Brown136646
Martin130618
Switzerland127810
Warren116116
Union99511
Ohio80911
Unassigned0494