INDIANAPOLIS—On Monday, State Senator Greg Taylor (D-Indianapolis) made a final attempt to ensure language regarding bias crimes passed during the 2018 session. As session must adjourn by Wednesday, Sen. Taylor’s Senate Resolution (SR) 60 is the final opportunity for any language to be approved to one day allow Indiana to join the 45 other states with bias crimes legislation.
“I wanted to give the Indiana legislature one last opportunity to do the right thing this year,” Sen. Taylor said. “This is not an issue we can just brush past and leave on the table for yet another year, too much is at stake as bias related crimes continue to increase.”
The resolution calls for a summer study committee to provide the General Assembly with a study of state and federal statutes that address these types of crimes. The study will also look at current and future law enforcement training and education related to recognizing and responding to bias crimes. Additionally the study will review the effective sentencing options for addressing bias motivated crimes, and how Indiana courts currently address these crimes.
“The common response when this legislation is proposed is that the courts already have the ability to add aggravators for crimes committed with a bias,” Sen. Taylor said. “When a 15-year-old child is beaten unconscious after multiple race-based threats, and their aggressor is sentenced to only 30 days in juvenile detention, I don’t think what is currently in statute is adequate. I think that this study committee would determine the level of inadequacy of our current laws.”
The resolution was approved unanimously in the Senate Rules and Legislative Procedures Committee.
“I am encouraged that this resolution was approved today. Hopefully, with this study committee, we can better protect our minority communities from crimes committed against them because of their race, gender or the color of their skin,” Sen. Taylor said. “Although we should already have enough understanding to move forward with bias crimes legislation, I hope that this study committee will be enough to convince this body to finally pass this legislation supported by 64 percent of Hoosiers.”