Goodin: Easier to talk about stopping hate crimes than actually doing it

July 30, 2018 Terry Goodin

INDIANAPOLIS – Indiana House Democratic Leader Terry Goodin from Austin today issued the following statement in the aftermath of anti-Semitic graffiti being found on a synagogue in Hamilton County over the weekend, and Gov. Eric Holcomb’s announcement that he would seek a hate crimes law for Indiana in the 2019 session of the Legislature:

“So we find ourselves in another situation where crimes are committed by cowards who did not like the religion practiced by a group of people. They did not have the courage to reveal their identities, so their true beliefs can be revealed for all the world to see.

“In my field of education, this is what would be called a teaching moment. The natural starting point would be a discussion of the need for a hate crimes law in Indiana, which is one of only five states that doesn’t have a law that targets crimes committed because of race, color, national origin, gender, or sexual orientation.

“I am delighted to see that Gov. Holcomb recognizes the importance of acting, and has announced he will pursue hate crimes legislation in the 2019 session. I join him in that call.

“But this is Indiana, where we find it easier to talk about stopping hate crimes instead of actually doing something about it.

“The governor announcing his support is one thing. Getting the Republican majorities in both the House and Senate to act is another.

“To date, we have not seen that level of commitment. Hate crimes laws are introduced with great fanfare, only to die out when Republican lawmakers start dithering about lists and existing case law and all the things that make it easier to delay the discussion for another session.

“The people of Indiana have made it clear that we need a hate crimes law. They want justice against the evil acts of a prejudiced few.

“How many more heinous acts like this are needed before we finally do something? That’s the real question here. I am cautiously optimistic after the governor’s announcement, but we are a long way from getting something done.”