Indiana Study Committee Doesn't Recommend Hate Crimes Law

Republican Governor Eric Holcomb and Democrats have asked for the state legislature to pass a hate crimes law.

(Indianapolis, Ind.) – Despite increasing calls for Indiana to adopt a law allowing harsher punishment for those who commit a hate-motivated crime, a legislative committee is not recommending lawmakers take action on the issue.

The Study Committee on Corrections and Criminal Code approved a final report last week. It says some members support a bias-motivated criminal statute, but does not call for drafting legislation, reports The Fort Wayne Journal Gazette.

A hate crimes law would allow judges to hand out harsher sentences to criminals whose unlawful acts are motivated by their victims' race, religion, or sexual orientation.

The lack of a recommendation by the study committee comes despite Republican Governor Eric Holcomb expressing his support for a hate crime law.

Democrats at the Indiana Statehouse have been demanding passage of a hate crimes law in recent legislative sessions - a third attempt died in the Senate this past January. The governor joined those calls this summer after a synagogue in Carmel, Indiana was vandalized with Nazi symbols.

Although the study committee did not make a recommendation, the Republican-controlled House and Senate could opt to advance a hate crimes bill during the 2019 Legislative Session. The session will begin in January.

Until then, Indiana remains one of just five states without a hate crimes law on its books.

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