You did it!! Your calls, emails, and post cards expressing your concerns with “hate crimes” legislation had an impact. This morning the Senate Committee on Corrections and Criminal Code rejected Senate Bill 418. The bill failed for a lack of support or a compromise agreement. It was withdrawn from consideration before being voted upon.
Language was offered to the bill from two different sources (Senator Mike Delph & Attorney General Curtis Hill) that we would have supported because it granted equal justice to any victim of a hate crime, but that was not what the bill’s proponents wanted. There is really no other way to explain this except to say that the bill’s supporters wanted a politically correct list of favored victims. It’s possible too, since hate crime actions have long been illegal in Indiana, that some supporters wanted to use the law to punish certain thoughts or speech. (Atty General Hill’s rejected language specifically protected speech while targeting hate crime actions.)
It is my assumption that the Republicans debated and probably voted on this behind closed doors. It would seem that a majority of them, because of your calls, said SB 418 should be rejected. However, while SB 418 is dead, the issue could possibly come up this session as an amendment to another bill in either the House or Senate. We must still be ready to light up the phone lines again, should that happen. We will continue to monitor this issue.
You made the difference when you contacted your Senator. We know that they got a lot of calls raising concerns over freedom of speech, equal justice, political correctness and the questionable effectiveness of SB 418. Thank you for standing with AFA of Indiana and other groups raising awareness about this media-driven legislation.