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Holcomb introduces hate crime law

BY Katharine Calabro - kcalabro@perutribune.com

The anti-semitic vandalism at a synagogue in Carmel last weekend has caused Indiana’s government officials to push for a hate crime law. Indiana is one out of five states without hate crimes legislation, which is something Governor Eric J. Holcomb said needs to change.

“I’ll be meeting with lawmakers, legal minds, corporate leaders and citizens of all stripes who are seeking to find consensus on this issue so that, once and for all, we can move forward as a state,” Holcomb said Monday via press release.

The vandalism allowed for officials to stand up against hate crimes and use this as an opportunity to welcome inclusiveness. United States Senator Joe Donnelly said Indiana holds no place of anti-semitism and bigotry.

“I believe that our state should be welcoming, where all people want to come raise their families, start or grow businesses, and retire in dignity,” Donnelly said.

He said he hopes the Indiana General Assembly will work to pass hate crimes laws, as the decision whether to proceed or not is up to General Assembly members.

No matter the outcome on what the General Assembly decides, Holcomb said the most important thing is to continue to have a voice.

“No law can stop evil, but we should be clear that our state stands with the victims and their voices will not be silenced,” he said,

According to the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s website, a hate crime is defined as a traditional offense with added elements of bias. Elements of bias include: race, disability, religion, sexual orientation, ethnicity, gender or gender identity.

In regards to Miami County’s position on dealing with hate crimes, Prosecutor Bruce Embry said our statues aren’t adequate for that, meaning they don’t cover hate. However, he did say in the area of where the hate crime took place last weekend, hate crime legislation should be enforced.

“Our statutes don’t cover hate,” he said. “As far as graffiti being used to insult others, I don’t believe the crimes are quite adequate.”

In January of this year, Indiana lawmakers did not reach an agreement to sign bill 418.

This bill would have allowed for judges of Indiana to enforce harsher sentences for crimes centered around elements of hate crime biases. The General Assembly will have to decide whether or not this hate crime was enough to warrant stricter statues.