This week, IndyStar Editor Tim Swarens wrote a piece that makes the case for a bill Sen. Greg Taylor will be filing in this upcoming 2017 session: a bias motivated crimes bill.
As Mr. Swarens states in the article, “Our neighbors fall victim to hate crimes more often than you might think. More than once a week on average, according to FBI data, Hoosiers are targeted for violence or vandalism because of who they are, where they come from or what they believe. The frequency of such crimes is enough to merit lawmakers’ attention.”
Included in Sen. Taylor’s proposal is a measure to train officers in recognizing, reacting and reporting hate crimes. Additionally, the bill would allow the targeted person to recover damages for losses incurred in civil court. From the agencies that reported data to the Federal Bureau of Investigation in 2013, Indiana logged 75 hate crimes, or roughly 1 every 5 days. Indiana is currently one of five states without hate crime legislation on the books.
Sen. Taylor has authored similar legislation for the last four years, however it wasn’t until the 2016 Legislative Session that bias motivated hate crime legislation made it to the Senate floor for consideration. The measure gained Senate approval, but it was never considered in the House.
“In order to change the headlines that we keep seeing pop up more recently, we have to start working together,” said Sen. Taylor. “This bill offers law enforcement the resources and education they need while also protecting Hoosiers from other citizens that target them simply for being who they are.”
As Mr. Swarens writes, “Thanks to state Sen. Greg Taylor, lawmakers will find a new proposal on the legislative menu designed to better protect Hoosiers targeted because of their race, religion, gender, gender identity, disability, ancestry, national origin or sexual orientation.”
The Indiana Senate Democrats will be proudly backing this effort.
If you’d like to get involved in advocating for this positon, please get it contact with us today. With your help, we can make sure the Republicans don’t slam the door shut on yet another bill that will protect Hoosiers from discrimination.
Read Swarens’ entire article here: Swarens: Indiana needs a hate crimes law