Indiana bill stiffening hate crime penalties fails in Senate

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By Timothy Mclaughlin

<span class="articleLocation”>An Indiana bill that aimed to allow judges to
stiffen penalties for people who committed bias-motivated crimes
failed to gain the support of lawmakers and will not advance in
the state legislature, the bill’s author said.

Senate Bill 439, written by Republican state senator Susan
Glick and introduced last month, died on the senate floor, Glick
said Monday, after amendments weakening the bill were proposed.

The failure of the bill came as a Jewish community centers
and schools in at least 13 U.S. states, including Indiana,
reported receiving bomb threats, the fifth wave of such threats
this year that have stoked fears of a resurgence of
anti-Semitism.

The state is just one of five that does not have a hate
crimes law on the books. A similar measure introduced last year
also failed.

“This bill sought to give judges the ability to increase
penalties for bias-motivated crimes,” Glick said in a statement.

“However, after discussions with my colleagues, it has
become apparent that there is a difference of opinion on various
potential amendments to the bill, making it difficult to find
consensus on a path forward.”

The bill would have allowed judges to impose tougher
sentences for crimes that were motivated by factors including
sexual orientation, race, gender, gender identity and national
origin.

The legislation was opposed by some Christian conservative
groups like the Indiana Family Institute, which said that the
bill would politicize crimes.

“For example, if SB 439 were passed into law a 90-year-old
grandmother who is assaulted because she is wearing a ‘Make
America Great Again’ shirt would get less justice than a
25-year-old man who is assaulted because he is perceived to be
gay,” the group said in a statement opposing the bill.



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