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House Republicans Pass Hate Crimes Bill Over Advocates' Objections

Lawmakers seated in the indiana house chambers in an aerial view

The Indiana House debates a hate crimes bill. ((Brandon Smith/IPB News))

House Republicans approved a bill creating hate crimes protections Tuesday, one which doesn’t have the support of more than 700 business that advocate for such a measure.

The measure says a judge can increase an offender’s sentence if their crime was motivated by bias against a victim’s trait, belief, or association. It also references a list of victim characteristics, one which doesn’t include sex, age, or gender identity.

Democrats all voted against it. Rep. Justin Moed (D-Indianapolis) says the list isn’t good enough.

“When you add a list, you acknowledge its importance. And when you leave out names, you leave people exposed,” Moed says.

READ MORE: Holcomb Insists Hate Crimes Debate Isn't Over

But Rep. Greg Steuerwald (R-Danville) defends the language he helped craft.

“It covers every form of hate and treats them equally," Steuerwald says. "I trust the judges.”

The vote was 57-39, with nine Republicans joining Democrats in voting against the measure. It now goes to the Senate, which can agree to the House’s language and send it to the governor, or take the measure to a conference committee.

Want to contact your legislators about an issue that matters to you? Find out how to contact your senators and member of Congress here.

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