By Adrianna Pitrelli
For the fifth time, Sen. Greg Taylor, D-Indianapolis, will try to get a hate crime law on the books in Indiana. During the 2017 legislative session, he wants to add the hate crime provision to another proposed piece of legislation that is designed to protect police officers.
A hate crime law would increase a sentence if the perpetrator targeted a victim due to characteristics such as race, religion or gender identity.
Taylor said he wants to work with Sen. Jim Merritt, R-Indianapolis, to add the hate crime provision to Merritt’s plan to protect law enforcement officers and their families if they are harmed, regardless of whether they are on-or off-duty.
“I have reached out to Sen. Merritt and hopefully we can work together,” Taylor said. “If we were to put these two programs together, we would see a significant amount of support from both bodies.”
By working together, Taylor said he and Merritt could help Indiana become a state that does not penalize people for who they are.
“There are people out there who are targeting not just police officers, but they’re targeting people who look different, whose religions are different and whose orientation is a little different,” Taylor said.
Different from previous versions, Taylor wants the 2017 version of the hate crime bill to include training for officers in recognizing and reporting hate crimes.
“This bill offers law enforcement the resources and education they need while also protecting Hoosiers from other citizens that target them simply for being who they are,” Taylor said.
Currently Indiana is only one of five states without hate crime legislation.