INDIANAPOLIS — Gov. Eric Holcomb said Monday he would support a hate crimes law in Indiana.
The push for a hate crimes bill in the state legislature for the upcoming session has gained more steam after Nazi symbols were spray painted on a building owned by the Shaarey Tefilla synagogue in Carmel.
“No law can stop evil, but we should be clear that our state stands with the victims and their voices will not be silenced.” Holcomb said in a prepared statement. “For that reason it is my intent that we get something done this next legislative session.”
Indiana is one of only five states in the U.S. without a hate crimes law. Indiana House Democrat leader Terry Goodin of Austin praised the Governor for his stance.
“I am delighted to see that Gov. Holcomb recognizes the importance of acting, and has announced he will pursue hate crimes legislation in the 2019 session,” Goodin said. “I join him in that call.”
However, Goodin added that announcing support for hate crimes legislation is one thing, but getting Republican support for a bill in both the Indiana House and State Senate is another.
Goodin blamed Republicans for the failure of hate crimes legislation in the past.
“The people of Indiana have made it clear that we need a hate crimes law,” Goodin added. “They want justice against the evil acts of a prejudiced few.”
Republican House Speaker Brina Bosma calls what happened in Carmel “sickening, disheartening and unacceptable.”
“This summer, the Interim Study Committee on Corrections and Criminal Code will take another look at the issue of bias-motivated crimes and identify opportunities for legislative consensus,” Bosma said.
Bosma, who as been against hate crimes legislation in the past, added “Indiana judges already have the ability to enhance sentences based on a criminal’s motivation when presented with evidence of bias, but perhaps more needs to be done to clarify and highlight this existing provision.”
(PHOTO: Scott Olsen/Getty Images)