Indianapolis – On Tuesday, Senate Republicans accepted changes made to Senate Bill (SB) 198 by the House of Representatives which included language relating to hate crimes. State Senator J.D. Ford (D-Indianapolis) had the following comments on the approval of this language:

“I am truly surprised that my Republican colleagues looked at this language and considered it to be a genuine hate crimes bill. We cannot have a bill that excludes age, gender and gender identity and expect to be added to the list of states with fully inclusive bias crimes laws.

“There is no avoiding the fact that SB 198 is an insult to so many Hoosiers. Mere days after Republicans attempted to make it harder for transgender Hoosiers to get a driver’s license that reflects their gender identity, this same caucus tells our transgender population that they don’t matter in the eyes of the law. SB 198 is an outright attack on our LGBTQ+ Hoosiers.

“Many of my colleagues on the other side of the aisle have said that this bill is just as inclusive as one with the full enumerated list of characteristics and traits. If that is true, then what is the harm of including age, gender and gender identity in SB 198’s list? Why explicitly leave those traits out?

“SB 198 is not a hate crimes bill. This is a hate bill – an ageist, sexist, transphobic hate bill. The governor must stay true to his word and reject a bill that does not include the full list. He must veto this bill, or Hoosiers will remember the day we let hate consume our state.”