Indiana News

Indiana lawmakers considering hate crime laws

Evan Johnson - INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) - Indiana could become the 46th state to have a hate crime law, the 18th state to include both "gender identity" and "sexual orientation" in its law. Currently, Indiana is one of five states that does not have a hate crime law.

Senate Bill 220 passed in the Indiana Senate with a 34-16 vote. The bill is now up for consideration in the Indiana House.

The bill is authored by Senator Susan Glick (R- District 13) and Senator Earline Rogers (D- District 3). The bill would allow a court to consider tougher sentences for anyone convicted of a crime motivated by a victim's age, race, religion, gender,disability, gender identity, and sexual orientation. The bill would also allow a court to take other factors into consideration. Click here to read more.

State law requires all law enforcement agencies to report bias crimes. Indiana State Police said since 2011 there have been 45 to 55 incidents each year that would have qualified as hate crimes.

According to the Southern Poverty Law Center, there are nearly one dozen active hate groups in Indiana. Click here to view the organization's hate map.

The hate crime bill comes shortly after Indiana lawmakers killed a bill that would have added civil protections to lesbian, gay, and bisexual people. That bill did not include protections for transgender Hoosiers. Lawmakers have been under scrutiny ever since.

Other states that currently do not have a hate crime law are Georgia, Arkansas, South Carolina, and Wyoming.

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