INDIANAPOLIS — Indiana looks to remain one of just five states that do not enhance criminal penalties when a perpetrator is motivated by bias toward a minority group.
State Sen. Sue Glick, R-LaGrange, declined to ask the Republican-controlled Senate to vote on her committee-approved bias crimes proposal, Senate Bill 439, prior to Tuesday's deadline — effectively killing the measure for the year.
Glick said she scuttled the legislation due to "a difference of opinion" among Senate Republicans concerning a proposed amendment that potentially would have made any crime committed against any person eligible for a bias enhancement.
As originally written, only crimes motivated by bias toward a victim's actual or perceived race, religion, color, sex, gender identity, disability, national origin, ancestry or sexual orientation would count as an aggravating factor when a judge issues a criminal sentence.
The proposal was amended in committee to also authorize a penalty enhancement when a police officer or the officer's family is targeted in a crime.
"I will continue working on this issue in the coming months with the hopes of possibly bringing it back during next year’s legislative session," Glick said.
State Sen. Karen Tallian, D-Ogden Dunes, said she was disappointed by Glick's decision because it's long past time Indiana caught up to the 45 other states that already provide bias crime protections for their citizens.
"Especially after a weekend in which a Jewish community center and a bar in Indianapolis were targeted with threats based solely on those who attend these establishments," Tallian said.
The Senate last year approved a similar Glick-sponsored bias crimes proposal, 34-16.
It died after never receiving a committee hearing in the Republican-controlled House.
The other states without bias crime statutes are Arkansas, Georgia, South Carolina and Wyoming.