Tuesday, February 23, 2016

House Won't Even Hold a Hearing on Hate Crimes Bill--Too Busy!

You might have thought that after the Republican Supermajority opted not to protect the civil rights of LGBT Hoosiers they might have offered the consolation of a hate crimes bill as another form of protection. After all, Indiana is one of only five states without a hate crimes bill. The bill put before them did not define a new category of crimes, but only gave judges discretion to add some severity to sentencing in cases where the crime was based on the victim’s characteristics, such as age, race, sexual orientation or gender identity. And the bill even sailed through the Republican-dominated senate. You might have thought that would be a reasonable bill for the House to pass to help restore some of Indiana's tattered reputation as a tolerant place, but you would have been so wrong! House Chairman Rep. Tom Washburne, R-Evansville, says his committee is just too busy: "With 20 bills in Courts and Criminal, I just had to make a decision about which ones we could hear and which ones we wouldn’t hear.” Maybe they'll be less busy next year. You can read more here.