Holcomb Steadfast On Hate Crimes Bill With Victim Characteristics List

Feb 27, 2019

Gov. Eric Holcomb is staying steadfast in his push for a hate crimes bill that includes a list of victim characteristics.

And Holcomb is urging Hoosiers to call their lawmakers to help make that happen.

This session’s hate crimes bill originally included a list of victim characteristics, including race, religion, and gender identity. But Senate Republicans struck it out, and House GOP leaders don’t support adding it back in. Holcomb says a bill without a list isn’t good enough – and he wants Hoosiers to get involved.

“They need to contact the legislators that vote – their legislator, respectfully and appeal to their hearts and minds,” Holcomb says.

Speaker Brian Bosma (R-Indianapolis) says he started getting calls over the weekend from many of the state's top CEOs, urging him to support a hate crimes measure that includes the list.

The governor rejects arguments some of the bill's opponents make that a law is unnecessary because there are so few hate crimes reported.

"About 3,500 hate crimes is not rare to me. Examples all over the state of Indiana," Holcomb says. "One is too many. This isn't a heavy lift."

Holcomb says lawmakers could pass a bill that mirrors a federal hate crimes law, which includes a victim characteristics list.

“[It] is not vague; it’s very specific," Holcomb says. "It would be asking every legislator to do nothing that’s not already currently in place.”

Still, the governor says it’s too soon to threaten to veto a bill that doesn’t have a list included.