NewsPublic Affairs / January 26, 2016

Proposed Bill Would Remove Indiana From Short List Of States Without Hate Crimes Law

Proposed Bill Would Remove Indiana From Short List Of States Without  Hate Crimes Law

Legislation creating just a penalty enhancement for hate crimes was unanimously approved Tuesday by a Senate committee.

file photo

INDIANAPOLIS -- Indiana is one of only five states without a hate crimes law.  Legislation unanimously approved Tuesday by a Senate committee would change that.

LaGrange Republican Sen. Sue Glick’s bill would allow judges to inflict harsher penalties based on a person’s motivation for committing a crime – specifically, if they committed a crime with the intent to harm or intimidate someone based on that person’s race, religion, color, national origin, sex, disability, status as a veteran, sexual orientation, or transgender status.  Her original proposal would’ve created a new crime entirely, but she says her legislation creating just a penalty enhancement still sends a strong message.

“Sends a message to those individuals that we will not tolerate it in our society,” Glick said. 

Marion County Prosecutor Terry Curry says recent examples prove the need for such a law.  He cites an Indiana University student’s attack on a Muslim woman, a burning cross on an African-American family’s lawn, and an attack on a man because he’s gay.

“Bias motivated crimes clearly affect more than a victim in any given case, but instead can create fear throughout an entire community,” Curry said.

The bill now heads to the Senate floor.

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