SLODYSKO, Associated Press
INDIANAPOLIS (AP) —
Indiana will remain one of just five states without a hate crimes law after
key lawmakers in the GOP-dominated Senate announced Tuesday that they were
abandoning a bill targeting crimes motivated by bias.
Indiana's GOP-dominated Statehouse have consistently opposed hate crimes
legislation. But that changed this year in the wake of clashes between white
supremacists and counter demonstrators in Charlottesville, Virginia, that
left one woman dead in August.
The bill by
Republican Sen. Sue Glick had support from GOP leaders, including House
Speaker Brian Bosma and Senate leader David Long. Then on Tuesday the
chairman of a key Senate committee decided to not take a vote on the bill.
"It's a matter of
peoples' opinions. We just couldn't come to consensus," Long, of Fort Wayne,
said late at a press conference announcing the effort was done for the year.
A deep thread of
social conservatism runs throughout the state and lawmakers, headed into an
election year, faced intense pressure from activists who argue that creating
a hate crimes law would create a special protected class of victims.
At the same time,
much of Indiana's business community was in lock-step support of the
measure, which they say is important to lure talent and new business to the
named one of 20 finalists competing to be the location of a second Amazon
headquarters. A coalition of central Indiana municipal officials, including
Republicans, had pushed for a hate crimes law in hopes of making the state
Despite his support
for the measure, Long dismissed their worries.
"I really don't
think it should affect anything," said Long. "Nor do I think we should
tailor all of our legislation in hopes that a company would locate here. I
would hope they'd be coming to Indiana because we are a welcoming state,
because we have a great economy and we have low cost of living."
The bill by Glick,
a former county prosecutor from LaGrange County, would have specifically
allowed a judge to take into account whether a crime was motivated by
someone's race, religion, color, sex, gender identity, disability, national
origin, ancestry, sexual orientation or ethnicity. It would also require
such crimes to be reported to the FBI. Currently, Indiana law enforcement
agencies are not required to do so.
anecdotal accounts suggest the number of so-called bias crimes are on the
rise and the Southern Poverty Law Center reports 26 active hate groups in
Greg Taylor, of Indianapolis, ripped Republicans for being content with the
"What we did today was say to companies like Amazon ... 'We don't need your
business, we don't need your economic development, we don't need your
jobs,'" said Taylor. "We are comfortable with the status quo."