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Locals react to Indiana Hate Crimes bill

Indiana is one step closer to getting a hate crimes law.

Posted: Feb 19, 2019 8:22 PM
Updated: Feb 20, 2019 10:23 AM

FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WFFT) - The Senate Public Policy Committee voted to move the bill to the full senate Monday morning.
The vote was 9 to 1 with Governor Eric Holcomb also in favor of the bill.

"I personally think it's about time Indiana needs something like this. More or less, kind of behind in terms of that situation. I'd like to see us come to times right now," Kurt Chelius, student at Purdue Fort Wayne, said.

The bill would allow judges to impose additional penalties against those who commit crimes fueled by biases.

"I would hope the judges would take advantage of being able to enhance somebody's stupidity. If somebody is doing something that is racially motivated against someone else. That judges now have the capability of raising have that bar up. Hopefully it will stop some people from committing crimes if they know I can get this versus just a slap on the hand," Alisa Thompson, Assistant Director of Diversity and Multicultural Affairs at Purdue University Fort Wayne, said.

Indiana is one of five states that does not have a law for hate crimes. The others are Arkansas, Georgia, South Carolina, and Wyoming.

"Indiana not only has some catching up to do, but we have some reputation issues that need to be addressed. it's more than just social justice. It's actually allowing the justice system to be aggressive with hate crimes as it is with drugs, any violent crime or anything else," Kenneth Christmon, pastor of Turner Chapel A.M.E church.

There were originally specifics listed in the bill including race, religion, and sexual orientation.

Tuesday that list was taken away after a vote by the senate.

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