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INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — An angry, anonymous phone call to one Indiana lawmaker has him speaking out after he was called a Nazi and a white supremacist.

He says too many conversations about politics are centered around hate and that enough is enough.

Indiana Sen. John Ruckelshaus released an op-ed Friday calling for people to talk to each other with more empathy.

Ruckelshaus said he’s noticing from the national conversation and from his own constituents that tension has been rising over certain political issues.

A few weeks ago, in the wake of the Charlottesville tragedy, Ruckelshaus, a Republican from Indianapolis, held a town hall style meeting with his constituents. Afterward, he got an angry, anonymous phone call.

“White supremacist was used, Nazi was used, white privilege was used,” he said recalling the message.

He said all of those claims are of course not true, and while negative phone calls don’t bother him, the anger is overshadowing issues.

“Anything we can do to tone down the rhetoric and get the politics out of the issues so that we can have calm, rational discussions where we can all come together will serve us much better,” he said.

So what can be done? He said people need to show empathy.

“Before you even talk, you should stop and think and listen. Put yourself in the other person’s shoes. Why are they thinking that way?”

Ruckelshaus said politicians need to set an example. This past week he met with Sen. Greg Taylor over coffee to talk about proposing a hate crime bill.

“[Taylor] being a Democratic state senator and I being a Republican state senator try to tackle a very difficult issue, taking the politics away and looking at this from a personal relationship. He’s African-American; I’m white,” he said. “Where’s the common ground? How can we work together?”

24-Hour News 8 talked to Hoosiers who said they want politicians to take the lead in stopping the rhetoric, but that it’s everyone’s responsibility.

Ruckelshaus said he knows his request is easier said than done, but hopes people will keep it in mind the next time they’re getting riled up about politics.

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) – Wednesday’s Virginia shooting involving politicians and staff is another example why some Indiana lawmakers want their staffs armed.

Starting soon, Statehouse staff will be allowed to bring a gun to work. It’s a law that state Sen. Jim Tomes, a Republican from Wadesville, worked on for a couple years because he said staff should be armed.

“They sometimes get there before the lawmakers get there,” Tomes said. “They leave later. Sometimes after everybody is gone.”

During the summer, they can park close to the Statehouse. But when lawmakers are in session, staff members are forced to park in garages which are a couple blocks away. “I just felt that they should not be denied their opportunity to exercise their constitutional rights as well,” Tomes said.

Opponents argue this law might create a slippery slope. “Is the next step to let the lobbyists have guns too to protect themselves from staff members,” asked State Sen. Greg Taylor, a Democrat from Indianapolis.

Staff who plan to take advantage of the law recently received gun training. They must also have a license to carry, and be permitted to do so. But some aren’t sure this is enough.

“If they’re going to fire upon you, the odds are you’re not going to have a chance to either dig in your purse, dig in your pocket to shoot back,” Taylor said. “I’m sorry, but that’s just the way it works.”

A debate fueled by Wednesday’s shooting with Hoosiers mixed if the answer is to put more weapons in the Statehouse.

“A lot of places have security already,” Indianapolis resident Pat Myers said. “So, I’d rather them have the guns and not just regular employees.”

“If nobody is armed, how is anybody going to defend anyone in that situation,” Fort Wayne resident Stella Stuckey said. “The only thing you can do is cower and hide.”

This law doesn’t apply to lawmakers. They are already able to carry weapons inside the Statehouse.

Senate Bill 43 was approved by both chambers, and the governor this past session. We’re told no firm date is set for when staffers will be allowed to carry guns. Once a policy is approved, they’ll be able to do so.

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INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) – On July 1, several Indiana laws will go into effect, but the fate of one is now in the hands of a judge.

On Tuesday, a federal judge heard arguments about why opponents are asking for a preliminary injunction to block parts of an Indiana bill.

The legislation allows parents to get notification if their child who is younger than 17 wants an abortion. The measure overwhelmingly passed both chambers and signed by the governor.

But Planned Parenthood of Indiana and Kentucky and the ACLU of Indiana filed suit.

“These are not young women who are coming before a court because life is good,” Planned Parenthood of Indiana and Kentucky CEO Betty Cockrum said. “They have challenges that it’s not clear the state can contemplate and that’s unfortunate.”

Solicitor General Thomas M. Fisher declined an interview after the hearing. In court, he argued the state is allowed to be tougher on minors.

He said the law helps parents because they’re informed. And since it’s not in effect yet, the opponent’s argument is based on their best guess.

For opponents, notification is not the only issue they have with the bill. They also argued medical professionals shouldn’t be required to check parental or guardian identifications before performing an abortion.

In addition to IDs, they’d have to show guardian proof. The state said a birth certificate will do. The bill also allows other options, which concerned the judge.

“You can never tell from a judge’s questions which way the judge is going,” ACLU attorney Kenneth Falk said. “The judge was exploring the various points of our briefing and you’ll have to see what happens.”

Both sides will be back in court soon. The challenge, the ACLU said, may not be its last.

“This is the third or fourth year in a row that we’re here, so we’ll have to see what next year brings,” Falk said. For now he said, they’ll focus on this case.

Another issue being challenged, allowing agencies, including Planned Parenthood, to inform teens of other state options. The bill would not allow them to do so.

The Indiana Statehouse Bureau reached out to the bill’s author, State Sen. Erin Houchin (R-Salem), but a spokesperson was unable to provide us with an interview or statement.

No new court date was set by the judge. She’s expected to rule before July first.

Here’s an online version of the bill:

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