Note to the Press: Please include the following statements from Gov. Eric Holcomb, House Speaker Brian C. Bosma (R-Indianapolis) and Senate President Pro Tem Rodric Bray (R-Martinsville) in your coverage of the Senate’s passage of Senate Enrolled Act 198. The bill allows a judge to consider at sentencing whether a crime was committed with bias or because of a victim’s “real or perceived characteristic, trait, belief, association or other attribute,” which Republican leaders said ensures every Hoosier is covered under the law. The measure also defines “bias crimes” as a crime against someone based on their color, creed, disability, national origin, race and sexual orientation. These categories are already listed in Indiana’s nearly 20-year-old bias crimes statute.
Statement from Gov. Eric Holcomb:
“Months ago, I decided to make protecting Hoosiers against bias crimes a key part of my 2019 legislative agenda.
“Today, finally, Senate Bill 198, accomplished that goal and I will sign it into law as soon as it gets to my desk.
“Those targeted for crimes because of color, creed, disability, national origin, race, religion or sexual orientation are protected. But this new law goes further. It also will cover bias crimes committed because of other traits and characteristics, such as gender, or gender identity, or sex, or age, and other commonly targeted groups.
“Our new law will allow judges to enhance sentences based on listed and non-listed categories. Criminals who attempt to instill fear by attacking others based, for example, on who someone loves, who they are, how they identify, how they pray, should know their sentences can, and I believe should, be enhanced to the fullest extent of the law.”
Statement from House Speaker Brian Bosma (R-Indianapolis):
“This bill provides an excellent solution and it covers all Hoosiers equally. You cannot name a characteristic or trait not covered under this bill. We believe this is the most comprehensive and inclusive bias crimes statute in the nation. The reference to our current bias crime definition meets or exceeds that of 21 other states’ bias crime statutes, and all of those states are off the list of states without a bias crimes law. There’s no reasonable assertion as to why this all-inclusive measure doesn’t take Indiana off the list.”
Statement from Senate President Pro Tem Rodric Bray (R-Martinsville):
“By referencing a specific list of characteristics, Senate Bill 198 provides guidance for judges, while still giving them the flexibility to increase the sentence for any bias-motivated crime as they see fit. I’m pleased to see this bill advance to the governor’s desk. It’s truly inclusive and will provide protections for all Hoosiers.”
Senate Enrolled Act 198 now moves to the governor’s desk for consideration as a new law.
Media Contact for House Speaker Brian Bosma:
Director of Communications & Technology
Indiana House Republicans
Media Contact for Senate President Pro Tem Rodric Bray:
Indiana Senate Republicans
C: 317. 431.9531
Media Contact for Gov. Eric Holcomb: