Indiana lawmakers throw barbs at hate crimes summer study committee

Politics

INDIANAPOLIS — Lawmakers threw barbs at each other, over a controversial topic.

For hours Wednesday, lawmakers heard testimony from many sides, about hate crimes. Some feel like our current law works well, while others completely disagree.

Governor Holcomb said in recent weeks that he supports a hate crime law.

Still, lawmakers can’t seem to agree just yet.

State Senator Greg Taylor, a Democrat from Indianapolis said, “We need hate crimes law in Indiana. Period. Point blank. It needs to cover everybody.”

Talk of hate crimes struck a nerve with some lawmakers some lawmakers Wednesday.

“I’m very frustrated. This is the reason why. I’ve been saying this for a long time. Even though the governor has come out in support of this, and everybody else, this is not going to be easy.” 

The problem is lawmakers can’t agree on what exactly would constitute a hate crime.

The controversial conversation pushed forward today, as lawmakers heard quite a bit of testimony.

Like DePauw University President, Mark McCoy. 

In April, the University contacted the FBI after a series of racially charged and insensitive messages were left around campus. 

Students told us they felt unsafe, amd McCoy vowed support, increased police patrols and spaces safe from discrimination.

McCoy said as he testified before state lawmakers “Yet, I heard a message from many students, that continues to echo: ‘Does Indiana care?’

That’s a fair question to ask in 2018. The absence of a hate crimes bill in Indiana speaks much more loudly than any of us would like.”

In August, Governor Eric Holcomb spoke in favor of a hate crime law, after someone vandalized a Carmel Synagogue with anti-Semitic symbols.

Republican State Senator, Michael Young argues it’s hard to prove someone’s intent. 

He said current law already protects you, no matter your race, disability, beliefs or sexual orientation.

“For example, someone think’s someone’s gay, and they beat up on somebody for the pure reason that they’re gay, the judge can increase the sentence based on that fact alone, with no proof!

Lawmakers said Wednesday’s was the last Summer Study on this particular topic.

But, Senator Taylor told us he’s already working on hate crimes legislation that he plans on introducing this next session in 2019.

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