Indianapolis – On Tuesday, Senate Republicans concurred with House of Representatives’ changes to Senate Bill 198, which include hate crimes language. Senate Democratic Leader Tim Lanane (D-Anderson) responded to the concurrence with the following comments:

“I am deeply disturbed that my colleagues on the other side of the aisle saw this language and thought that leaving out age, sex and gender identity from the list of protected classes was good enough.

“The Republican supermajority showed their true colors this session in regards to their feelings towards our minority communities in this state. It is cowardly to not specify an all-inclusive list.

“I want to remind the supermajority that they will not have the opportunity to boast getting Indiana off the short list of states without a hate crimes law. The Anti-Defamation League said themselves that this does not get us off the list.

“The General Assembly had the opportunity to do the right thing here this session, and the Republicans in both chambers neglected their responsibility. It is inexcusable that all Hoosiers are not protected from crimes committed due an age, sex or gender identity bias.

“I am also dismayed that this inadequate version was rushed through the House with decisions made behind closed doors and no opportunity for public debate. For this reason alone, this bill should have been dissented upon by the Senate Republicans so that further efforts to restore the complete list that passed on a bipartisan basis in the Senate Public Policy Committee could occur.”