From the Jewish Federation of St. Joseph Valley
Our Partner
Bias Crimes Action Alert and Update
March 5, 2019
The Bias Crimes bill (Senate Bill 12) has now moved to the Indiana House of Representatives. Although the Senate stripped the bill almost entirely (scroll down for details of what happened), we are committed to fighting every day until the end of the session to make the case that a real and effective Bias Crimes statute MUST have the language that has been removed, including (1) the list of enumerated characteristics, (2) reporting requirements, and (3) training for law enforcement.

In order to be successful, we need to generate thousands of phone calls and points of contact with elected officials over the next 10 days!

  1. Call the House Speaker Brian Bosma (317-232-9677)
  2. Call the House Bill Sponsor Representative Greg Steuerwald (317-232-9833) 
  3. Call YOUR Representative (800-382-9842) or look up it up their email here.

Hello, my name is______, and I'm calling to leave an important message for _______. I'm asking that Senate Bill 12, the Bias Crimes bill, be amended to include the list of enumerated characteristics. Only by having this list will Indiana be passing a real Bias Crimes law. As a member of Indiana’s Jewish Community, I know that antisemitism and hate crimes are on the rise. I need to know that the State of Indiana recognizes this alarming trend too. Indiana must pass a strong bill that’s consistent with the vast majority of other states who have bias crimes laws on their books. 

After making these calls,

PLAN TO ATTEND A "THIRD HOUSE MEETING" in your community. Third House meetings (town halls) are a great way to talk to your legislators and ask them questions about issues and their votes on bills. The more people we have attending Third House Meetings talking about Bias Crimes, the better! Let your legislator know that the current format of the bill is unacceptable. 

FORWARD THIS EMAIL or copy & paste these action items . We each have different networks. We are asking each and every one of us (yes, You!) to personally reach out to your friends, neighbors, clubs, organizations, boards of directors and encourage them to take action too!

FILL OUT THIS QUICK FORM to let us know you've made the calls.  We need to be able to tell House leaders that we know how many calls were made! Please, do this last step!

Help us create an overwhelming groundswell of support that our legislators won't be able to ignore !
Bias Crimes Update
March 5, 2019

What's happened so far?
• After hours of broad supportive testimony, the Senate Public Policy Committee passed an excellent Bias Crimes bill (Senate Bill 12) out of committee with a vote of 9-1. 
• The bill included 3 provisions that supporters advocated for: (1) a strong definition of what a Bias Crime is that included a list of enumerated characteristics; (2) an update to our crime reporting requirements; and (3) an update to law enforcement training requirements.
• The very next day the full Senate gutted the bill with an amendment that removed all 3 provisions and simply left the words “including bias” in the sentencing section of our criminal code.  
Here's a link to the JCRC's statement after the bill was stripped.
• The amended (gutted) bill then passed on largely a party line vote (33-16) to move out of the Senate and over to the House.

So what does SB12 do now? Not much!
The gutted version of SB12 no longer:
• Updates reporting requirements to ensure bias crimes data is being reported to Indiana State Police and the FBI.
• Creates a new, clear, and specific aggravating circumstance with a list of enumerated characteristics that allow a court to increase penalties for the commission of a bias-motivated crime against a person or group of people
• Requires training on recognizing, investigating and reporting bias-motivated crimes for law enforcement agencies and officers.

Will the current gutted version of SB12 get Indiana off the list of 5 states without a bias crimes law?
• NO! All major national civil rights organizations that monitor state bias crimes laws agree that effective, constitutional statutes MUST HAVE an enumerated list of characteristics for courts to reference in order to determine bias as a motivating factor.
• Laws that do not include a list are ineffective and unusable (Georgia and Utah are examples; Utah is currently revising its statute to include a list).

What is Indiana Forward recommending?
• Indiana Forward DOES NOT support SB12 in its current form. The coalition will not compromise on the need to have an enumerated list for an effective law.
• Indiana Forward will continue to work with the Indiana House of Representatives to put the list back into the bill.
• If you haven't signed up for Indiana Forward updates/action alerts, click here .