By Megan Powell
An amendment Monday broadened a proposed hate crime law to include both perceived and actual hate.
“It’s a notion that is being broadcasted if you will, that Indiana does not protect its citizens,” said Sen. Susan Glick
, R-LaGrange. “That we have something against certain individuals because of identifiable characteristics and I don’t believe that’s the truth.”
The legislation would allow a judge to increase the amount of time spent behind bars if a crime is motivated by hate. A court would be allowed to consider a victim’s race, religion, color, sex, gender identity, disability, national origin, ancestry, or sexual orientation.
An amendment changed the bill to include both perceived and actual hate. Glick said several years ago, a neo-Nazi attacked and killed citizens in a Jewish community center in Overland Park, Kansas. Three people were killed. While the victims were not Jewish, the shooter shot the victims because he thought they were Jewish.
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“Those people weren’t Jewish. They were at a community center. He killed them out of hate,” said Glick, the author of Senate Bill 220
. “Under this bill, with this amendment, he would have committed a hate crime, because that’s actually what he did.”
A second amendment adopted Monday removed veterans and members of the armed forces from the list of characteristics.
“Members of the armed forces have indicated to me they don’t wish to be in this list,” said Glick. “They don’t feel that they’re being discriminated against.”
Glick said Indiana was one of five states without a hate crime law and she wants Hoosiers to feel safe in their own state.
“We’re saying that Indiana does not hate,” said Glick. “And we won’t tolerate it and we will enhance the penalty.”
Megan Powell is a reporter for TheStatehouseFile.com, a news service powered by Franklin College journalism students.