A large collection of leaders from organizations representing different cultural and religious groups in Indiana is calling on state lawmakers to finally pass hate crimes legislation this year.
The group gathered at the statehouse Tuesday to highlight the fact that Indiana is one of only a handful of states without a law addressing bias-motivated crimes.
Director of Education and Advocacy for the Indianapolis Urban League Mark Russel says passing a hate crimes law will not only protect Hoosiers, but also make the state more competitive.
“We cannot continue to put emphasis as much as it is needed on Indiana being a climate where businesses wish to come while we ignore the needs of our citizens,” Russel says.
Previous attempts to pass legislation that increases the penalties for hate crimes have failed at the statehouse. But Senate Democrats listed it as one of their priorities again this year.
House Speaker Brian Bosma endorsed the idea of such legislation in the wake of white supremacist violence in Charlottesville, Virginia over the summer.