As you know either from my email last night or the media freak out, the Indiana Senate put policy above rhetoric and amended Senate Bill 12 to include everyone in our hate / bias crime laws.   Rather than limit a judge’s ability to extend a sentence in such a crime to a list of politically favored victim categories, the Senate affirmed a 2005 state Supreme Court ruling giving judges the widest latitude possible.  It was a strong statement for equal justice under the law rather than stooping to the identity politics that divides our nation.

Indiana Senators should be thanked for their support of this amendment that passed with a very strong 33-16 vote.  SB 12 will likely pass on Thursday.  It will then go to the House in a few weeks where a victim list is also not popular. 

 The media is really doing a disservice to Hoosiers on this.  Almost every headline and news story implies that their favored groups lost protections, when in fact SB 12 now protects everyone.  

 Here is something you won’t read or hear in the media.  If anyone bothered to read the SB 12 amendment to look at what sections it cites in current law, they would find this code citation.  This should also raise questions as to why the Governor has been, and still is, demeaning Indiana with his rhetoric.  This was Governor Holcomb’s unfortunate and misleading reaction to the Senate vote last night, “The version of the bill approved today by the Senate does not get Indiana off the list of states without a bias crime law.” 

 That is false. We should never have been on such a list from the start.  This has been part of Indiana law since 2003:

IC 10-13-3-1  “Bias crime” Sec. 1. As used in this chapter, “bias crime” means an offense in which the person who commits the offense knowingly or intentionally: (1) selected the person who was injured; or (2) damaged or otherwise affected property; by the offense because of the color, creed, disability, national origin, race, religion, or sexual orientation of the injured person or  owner or occupant of the affected property was associated with any other recognizable group or affiliation. As added by P.L. 2 – 2003.

Because of this law and court rulings, you might conclude that this whole issue has been a political and media driven hoax upon the people of Indiana.   You are correct.   SB 12, as amended, calls this bluff and restates the truth that we already protect anyone who might be the victim of a bias or hate crime. 

Below is the vote on the amendment yesterday.  You should thank Senator Aaron Freeman who authored this amendment, and every Senator who voted for it to affirm equal justice under law.  Indiana Senate phone number: 317-232-9400.

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