Indiana hate crimes bill passes committee

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A hate crime bill may soon become a law in Indiana. Monday it passed the senate public policy committee with a 9 to 1 vote.  But lawmakers say there’s still more work that needs to be done.   

Hate crime legislation was on the minds of many during The Greater Terre Haute NAACP meeting.  

As members took turns sharing their hopes and concerns for the bill.  

“This is vitally needed in our community,” Greater Terre Haute NAACP Sylvester Edwards said.  

Earlier in the day the Senate Public Policy Committee advanced, Indiana Senate bill 12 to the full senate.  

The bill would specifically allow judges to impose additional penalties against those convicted of committing crimes. 

Those crimes would be tied to biases involving race, religion, gender, sexual orientation, gender identity, disability and age. 

“Our governor is for it,” Edwards said. “That says a lot. And industries and business are for it as well.” 

Over the past few years similar legislation died before leaving committee hearings.   

But now political leaders on both sides of the aisle are coming together to pass legislation. 

Currently there are several hate crime bills in the state house and senate.  

However, not all of them include the same language. 

Edwards say he believes a form of a hate crime bill will be passed, he hopes it will include all groups of people. 

“I cannot say that one is better than the other, they have to be inclusive for all groups,” Edwards said. “If not, the group that is going to be left out is going to be targeted.” 

Lawmakers will now have a little over a week to pass the legislation out of the full senate. 

The deadline for the bill to pass second reading in the senate is February 25. 

Only Indiana, Georgia, South Carolina, Wyoming and Arkansas do not have hate crime laws.

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