Make your home page

Indiana lawmakers working on hate crime bills

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — Indiana is one step closer to a having hate crime law on the books.

Republican State Representative Tony Cook has a hate crime bill ready to go. His bill would allow a judge to lengthen someone’s sentence if they commit a crime against somebody because of their race, religion, gender identity or sexual orientation for example.  

Cook, a Republican from Cicero explained, “We want to send a clear message in Indiana, in my opinion that we don’t tolerate the bias, the ignorance, the hatred that we’re seeing many of these incidents being filled with.”  

Republican State Senator Mike Bohacek already filed a hate crime bill. He told us Wednesday, “”I strongly believe now is the time for Indiana to pass legislation to address bias-motived crimes. The tragic shooting at the Tree of Life Congregation in Pittsburgh demonstrates the need for bias crimes legislation in our state.” 

State Senator Ron Alting is also listed as an author with Bohacek.

In recent weeks Governor Eric Holcomb announced he was making a hate crime law a priority for the upcoming session. 

In January, the last hate crime bill died after lawmakers couldn’t agree on the language. 

“It’s time to move forward. It’s time to codify some of this,” Cook explained. “Give our prosecutors, our judges more clarity so they can enhance those sentencing which they can do now. I know I’ll get that argument. But many don’t.”

Cook said he feels like he’s already got support for the bill from both sides.

To read more about Cook’s bill, click here.