INDIANAPOLIS–On Monday, Senate Republicans passed Senate Bill (SB) 471, a proposal that contained a comprehensive list of offenses against infrastructure facilities that would result in felony charges. This comes a day before Senate Republicans voted to endorse a hate crimes bill that explicitly left out the characteristics age, sex and gender identity. State Senator Mark Stoops (D-Bloomington) had the following remarks about the passage of an inclusive hate crimes bill–for industries, not Hoosiers:
“It’s disappointing and disgraceful that the supermajority, tasked with passing an inclusive bias crimes bill that protects groups that have historically been victims of oppression, failed to do that today with SB 198. Not only did they fail to pass the comprehensive and inclusive legislation that businesses, community organizations, faith groups and Hoosiers asked for– but in the same week, they approved an inclusive bill to protect big industries against people.
“The language in SB 471 has a long list of protections for industries like big energy and big oil. But, it penalizes Hoosiers for protesting those big industries when they do things like raise utility rates or pollute our water—the language in this bill all but grants industries with personhood. And yet, when it comes to real people who face real acts of violence rooted in discrimination–Senate Republicans are too scared to pass an inclusive bill. With these actions, they are showing who and what is more important to them, and it isn’t people.
“The language in SB 198 purposely leaves out gender identity, sex and age. It fails to recognize these critical characteristics that individuals continue to be attacked for. It’s a shame because we can do better than that. We could have passed a bill that is truly inclusive and penalizes those who commit heinous crimes. SB 471 is proof that the supermajority is willing to pass comprehensive legislation when business is on the line. As it stands now, we have a more inclusive hate crimes bill for our industries than Hoosiers and that’s deplorable.”