STATEHOUSE (Aug. 17, 2018) – State Sens. Ron Alting (R-Lafayette) and Mike Bohacek (R-Michiana Shores) today announced their intentions to introduce bias crimes legislation during the 2019 legislative session.
Earlier this year, Bohacek authored Senate Bill 418, which did not pass out of the Senate Committee on Corrections and Criminal Law. SB 418 would have allowed a court to consider it an aggravating circumstance if a crime was committed with the intent to harm or intimidate an individual based on certain factors like race, religion, sexual orientation and disability.
“In light of the recent anti-Semitic vandalism at a Carmel synagogue, it’s imperative for Hoosiers to know these hateful crimes will not be tolerated,” Bohacek said. “No one should live in fear of expressing themselves or practicing what they believe. I am pleased that the governor has called on the legislature to pass this kind of bill. There needs to be a law in place to help prevent hate crimes in our state and protect the safety of all Hoosiers, and I will work hard to make that a reality.”
According to the Indianapolis Star, anti-Semitic vandalism occurred last month at the Congregation Shaarey Tefilla in Carmel. Graffiti of Nazi flags and iron crosses was discovered on two walls of a brick shed. Yesterday, federal authorities arrested suspects in the defacing of the synagogue.
The vandalism follows a 2017 incident, reported by the Chicago Tribune, which involved four attackers who live streamed a Facebook video of their racially charged beating of a mentally disabled man.
“Indiana is one out of five states without bias crimes legislation,” Alting said. “I have supported bias crime bills in the past, and I strongly believe that now is the time to pass this legislation. I look forward to continuing this discussion in the upcoming session. We have to do all we can to prevent these hate crimes in the future.”
The 2019 legislative session will convene in January.
For high-resolution photos of Alting and Bohacek, click here.