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Indiana Black Legislative Caucus seek reprimands after confrontations

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The Indiana Black Legislative Caucus called Tuesday for lawmakers who sparked confrontations with Black legislators last week to face reprimands and for all lawmakers to undergo mandatory anti-bias training.

Posted: Feb 23, 2021 2:43 PM

INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — The Indiana Black Legislative Caucus called Tuesday for lawmakers who sparked confrontations with Black legislators last week to face reprimands and for all lawmakers to undergo mandatory anti-bias training.

The request came after tempers flared among Indiana House members on Thursday.

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Black lawmakers were shouted down and booed by some Republicans during a debate and some verbal altercations took place in hallways.

Democratic Rep. Robin Shackleford of Indianapolis, the Black caucus chairwoman, called the conduct of some Republican members aggressive and intimidating and said it was time to “say enough is enough.”

Shackleford said she and other Black caucus members met with Republican House Speaker Todd Huston and asked for reprimands, training on implicit racial bias and for greater safety assurances for lawmakers against hostile behavior.

The steps are needed because of offensive social media posts and comments from some Republican House members, Shackleford said.

“We can’t tell who all is racist over there. We hear some of the comments,” she said.

Huston didn’t address the Black caucus’ requests on Tuesday, saying in a statement he was committed to maintaining “decorum, civility and professionalism.”

Huston, who is in his first full year as speaker, told House members on Monday that they should be considerate of different perspectives and must be more respectful of lawmakers speaking in accordance with House rules.

“It’s not my nature to be heavy-handed in enforcement, but make no mistake going forward that will be the case,” Huston said.

Last week’s confrontations started when Black lawmakers spoke against a bill allowing a rural, mostly white township in St. Joseph County to leave the South Bend Community Schools, which is about 60% Black or Hispanic, and called the proposal discriminatory and racist.

Several Republican members booed, said loudly “no” and “stop,” and some started leaving the House meeting room.

An argument erupted in a hallway between Republican Sean Eberhart of Shelbyville, who is white, and Democratic Rep. Vanessa Summers of Indianapolis, who is Black. Other legislators separated them.

Democratic Rep. Vernon Smith of Gary, who is Black, said he was called a bully by Republican Rep. Alan Morrison of Brazil, who is white, when they were in a restroom.

Smith said Morrison kept berating him in the hallway until Morrison was pulled aside by another legislator.

“I understand that what I say often is not comfortable for some of my colleagues,” Smith, who’s been a House member for 31 years, said Tuesday. “What I was offended by is that one of my colleagues wanted to shut me up. I think that I have a right to speak my opinions.”

Morrison declined through his legislative press secretary to comment to The Associated Press.

Morrison told The Indianapolis Star he wouldn’t talk about what happened.

“What happens between two grown men, I won’t say anything,” Morrison said. “He can say whatever he wants, but I’ve got no comment on it.”

The Black caucus is made up of 14 House members or senators among the 150 state lawmakers.

All are Democrats from Indianapolis or northwestern Indiana’s Lake County.

The Republican-dominated House narrowly approved the school district bill on a 52-43 vote as 14 Republicans joined Democrats in voting against the proposal, sending it to the Senate for consideration.

Indiana Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 941120

Reported Deaths: 15315
CountyCasesDeaths
Marion1282511983
Lake633041097
Allen53609758
Hamilton43827447
St. Joseph41906590
Elkhart33545490
Vanderburgh30383448
Tippecanoe26820249
Johnson23609417
Hendricks22250341
Porter21737346
Clark17409229
Madison17366384
Vigo16108281
Monroe14466191
LaPorte14311239
Delaware14070221
Howard13865272
Kosciusko11418135
Hancock10841165
Warrick10674177
Bartholomew10542168
Floyd10430205
Wayne9959226
Grant9130204
Morgan8865160
Boone8389111
Dubois7710123
Dearborn762289
Henry7608130
Noble7413101
Marshall7362128
Cass7176117
Lawrence6957153
Shelby6584111
Jackson656785
Gibson6156107
Harrison603786
Huntington600195
Montgomery5805105
DeKalb574291
Knox5494104
Miami542488
Putnam536768
Clinton533665
Whitley524953
Steuben497268
Wabash483592
Jasper479160
Jefferson470092
Ripley454277
Adams444068
Daviess4169108
Scott405865
White391857
Clay390857
Greene388392
Decatur385296
Wells384983
Fayette374278
Posey359941
Jennings353156
Washington332047
LaGrange321375
Spencer317835
Fountain316555
Randolph312888
Sullivan307449
Owen283863
Starke280064
Fulton277553
Orange275859
Jay254837
Perry251652
Carroll243729
Franklin239338
Rush234130
Vermillion233250
Parke219820
Tipton209655
Pike207639
Blackford168334
Pulaski163551
Crawford146018
Newton144345
Benton142516
Brown135346
Martin128217
Switzerland125810
Warren114616
Union96911
Ohio79711
Unassigned0479

Ohio Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 1365800

Reported Deaths: 21596
CountyCasesDeaths
Franklin1522221560
Cuyahoga1344852327
Hamilton976051320
Montgomery670271141
Summit562091047
Lucas50900863
Butler47417655
Stark41580976
Lorain31567532
Warren30001331
Mahoning26963639
Clermont25628292
Lake24585417
Delaware22313145
Licking20487241
Fairfield20420221
Greene20309272
Trumbull19866509
Medina19796287
Clark17879328
Richland16314234
Portage16130229
Wood15681208
Allen14115256
Miami13786253
Muskingum12641152
Wayne11946238
Columbiana11708241
Tuscarawas10953269
Marion10725148
Pickaway10465129
Scioto10324127
Erie9747171
Ross9436176
Lawrence8755125
Hancock8458141
Ashtabula8317185
Geauga8173156
Belmont8140187
Jefferson7527172
Huron7423128
Union731851
Washington7183120
Athens697165
Sandusky6848134
Darke6756136
Knox6671122
Seneca6358137
Ashland5948113
Auglaize587188
Shelby5727101
Brown564171
Mercer557890
Defiance5483101
Madison543371
Crawford5425114
Highland541581
Fulton530683
Clinton525580
Logan512182
Preble4994110
Putnam4833106
Guernsey470364
Williams459282
Perry449852
Champaign445964
Ottawa436884
Jackson425362
Pike388843
Morrow383851
Fayette375853
Coshocton374766
Adams360675
Hardin359069
Gallia347356
Holmes3259108
Henry324668
Van Wert314670
Hocking301769
Wyandot280658
Carroll262652
Paulding242243
Meigs213942
Monroe189749
Noble169340
Morgan165829
Harrison157940
Vinton138118
Unassigned05
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Decatur
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