Gov. Eric Holcomb announced Monday he’ll support hate crimes legislation in the 2019 session.
The move comes after vandals defaced a Carmel synagogue with anti-Semitic graffiti.
Legislation to increase penalties for crimes committed because of a victim’s characteristics – such as race, religion, and gender identity – failed for years. But now Holcomb says he’ll work to find consensus on the issue ahead of the 2019 session.
Indianapolis Jewish Community Relations Council assistant director David Sklar helps lead the push for a hate crimes bill. He says Holcomb’s support is a big boost.
“Not only solidifies the bipartisan nature of the legislation but obviously helps to limit the sort of partisan acrimony that I think has infused the conversation a little bit,” Sklar says.
Republican religious conservative opposition helped defeat the legislation in recent years.
Indiana is one of five states without a hate crimes law.