Nisly: Why the outcry for a hate crimes law?

Posted by: Adam Kern  | Friday, February 1, 2019

I do not know how many times I have told my kids, “Just because everyone else does it, does not mean you have to.” Sound familiar? This is a common Hoosier parenting principle.

As we face Indiana’s latest controversial “hate crime bills,” we hear how 45 states are doing it … so we should, too. Let us think about this.

Currently, Indiana is one of five states that do not have a specific hate crimes law. The other states offer penalty enhancements for some forms of bias; however, only 13 states offer enhancements for crimes based on bias for someone’s race, religion, ethnicity, sexual orientation, gender, gender identity or age.

We are being told if Indiana does not imitate these other states, it will be detrimental to our business community. We are told it is difficult to attract new companies to our state because we do not have this legislation. I question this rationale.

The reality is businesses are coming to Indiana. Businesses like us. We are a good environment for businesses. Business works in Indiana. We are head-and-shoulders above our peers. Are we supposed to believe we have a problem?

We cannot have it both ways. Either businesses are coming to Indiana because Indiana is good for business, or businesses are avoiding Indiana or leaving because of our hostility. Which is it?

Two bills moving through the house, House Bill 1020 and House Bill 1093, are supposed to solve our “problem.” In a follow-up column, I will dig into each of these proposals. Keep in mind current Indiana law already allows judges to consider racial bias in crafting judgments.

Hoosiers are loving people and we have a great culture. If we base our laws simply upon what others are doing, I do not believe it would improve our state. The truth is, we are heading down a bad path when we expect more and more laws and more and more “fixes” every year. As President Ronald Reagan said, “Man is not free, unless government is limited.”

As always, please feel free to reach out to me on this or any other issue that concerns you by emailing h22@iga.in.gov.

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State Rep. Curt Nisly (R-Milford) represents House District 22, which 
includes portions of Kosciusko and Elkhart counties.
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