Note to the Press: Please include the following statement from State Rep. Greg Steuerwald (R-Avon) 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. Steuerwald authored the amendment to define “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.
STATEHOUSE (April 2, 2019) – “The intent of this bill is to cover every form of hate and treat every form of hate the same. This is the most comprehensive bias crimes statute in the country, leaving no one out. With this policy, every Hoosier will receive equal protection under the law, which is a Constitutional right, while reinforcing that bias-motivated crimes in Indiana will not be tolerated.”