Category: Newsmakers

JCRC — DespiteEven as Indiana lawmakers from both parties continue to echo Gov. Eric Holcomb’s call for hate crime legislation, the deep divisions that foiled previous attempts to pass a bias-motivated crime bill appear to still be entrenched.  Monday, Holcomb announced his intention to get a hate crime bill through the Statehouse during the 2019 General Assembly session. He said he would be meeting with legislators, corporate leaders and citizens to find consensus so Indiana can join the 45 other states that have statutes regarding crimes motived by hate or bias.  “No law can stop evil,” Holcomb said, “but we should be clear that our state stands with the victims and their voices will not be silenced.”  Holcomb made his public statement of support for hate crime legislation following an act of vandalism at a Carmel synagogue over the weekend. An outbuilding at the Congregation Shaarey Tefilla was spray-painted with Nazi symbols.  Republicans and Democrats in the Legislature have since issued statements reiterating the governor’s view. But Democrats noted that while they have proposed and supported hate crime measures, their colleagues across the aisle have resisted and failed to take action in getting a bill passed.  “(The Democrats) have persistently pursued bias-motivated crime legislation in the Indiana Senate, and each year our legislation is ignored by the majority party with promises of future consideration,” said Senate Minority Leader Tim Lanane, D-Anderson.  Incoming Senate president Rodric Bray, R-Martinsville, said he is pleased to collaborate with Holcomb and the House of Representatives to continue the work of crafting “legislation that mirrors our Hoosier hospitality.”  Conversely, House Speaker Brian Bosma, R-Indianapolis, voiced support for the victims but was noncommittal about passing a law.  “This summer, the Interim Study Committee on Corrections and Criminal Code will take another look at the issue of bias-motivated crimes and identify opportunities for legislative consensus,” Bosma said. “Indiana Judges already have the ability to enhance sentences based on a criminal’s motivation when presented with evidence of bias, but perhaps more needs to be done to clarify and highlight this existing provision.”  Also Monday, Indiana Attorney General Curtis Hill released a 761-word op-ed also calling for the Legislature to pass a law that “criminalizes hateful conduct.”  However, his position mirrors the opposition to hate crime bills that these measures carve out special protections for select groups. The list of protected classes often included in the proposed legislation is seen as excluding individuals who are part of a majority.  “My proposal differs from many other so-called hate-crimes proposals in that it avoids entirely the exercise of separating ‘protected groups’ from ‘non-protected,’” Hill wrote. “Why should some groups receive greater protection from hateful conduct than others?”  For community organizations pushing for a bias-motivated crime bill, the removal of the specific protected groups would be unacceptable. David Sklar, director of government affairs for the Indianapolis Jewish Community Relations Council, called it a non-starter.  Hate crime bills that have been introduced in the Indiana Legislature in the past have included a list of characteristics identifying the protected classes. The bills specify that individuals or groups could have their sentences enhanced if they commit a criminal act that targets others because of their religion, race, gender and ethnicity. Holcomb’s support, hate crimes bill lacks unity
, Newsmakers

JCRC — DespiteEven as Indiana lawmakers from both parties continue to echo Gov. Eric Holcomb’s call for hate crime legislation, the deep divisions that foiled previous attempts to pass a bias-motivated crime bill appear to still be entrenched. Monday, Holcomb announced his intention to get a hate crime bill through the Statehouse during the 2019 General Assembly session. He said he would be meeting with legislators, corporate leaders and citizens to find consensus so Indiana can join the 45 other states that have statutes regarding crimes motived by hate or bias. “No law can stop evil,” Holcomb said, “but we should be clear that our state stands with the victims and their voices will not be silenced.” Holcomb made his public statement of support for hate crime legislation following an act of vandalism at a Carmel synagogue over the weekend. An outbuilding at the Congregation Shaarey Tefilla was spray-painted with Nazi symbols. Republicans and Democrats in the Legislature have since issued statements reiterating the governor’s view. But Democrats noted that while they have proposed and supported hate crime measures, their colleagues across the aisle have resisted and failed to take action in getting a bill passed. “(The Democrats) have persistently pursued bias-motivated crime legislation in the Indiana Senate, and each year our legislation is ignored by the majority party with promises of future consideration,” said Senate Minority Leader Tim Lanane, D-Anderson. Incoming Senate president Rodric Bray, R-Martinsville, said he is pleased to collaborate with Holcomb and the House of Representatives to continue the work of crafting “legislation that mirrors our Hoosier hospitality.” Conversely, House Speaker Brian Bosma, R-Indianapolis, voiced support for the victims but was noncommittal about passing a law. “This summer, the Interim Study Committee on Corrections and Criminal Code will take another look at the issue of bias-motivated crimes and identify opportunities for legislative consensus,” Bosma said. “Indiana Judges already have the ability to enhance sentences based on a criminal’s motivation when presented with evidence of bias, but perhaps more needs to be done to clarify and highlight this existing provision.” Also Monday, Indiana Attorney General Curtis Hill released a 761-word op-ed also calling for the Legislature to pass a law that “criminalizes hateful conduct.” However, his position mirrors the opposition to hate crime bills that these measures carve out special protections for select groups. The list of protected classes often included in the proposed legislation is seen as excluding individuals who are part of a majority. “My proposal differs from many other so-called hate-crimes proposals in that it avoids entirely the exercise of separating ‘protected groups’ from ‘non-protected,’” Hill wrote. “Why should some groups receive greater protection from hateful conduct than others?” For community organizations pushing for a bias-motivated crime bill, the removal of the specific protected groups would be unacceptable. David Sklar, director of government affairs for the Indianapolis Jewish Community Relations Council, called it a non-starter. Hate crime bills that have been introduced in the Indiana Legislature in the past have included a list of characteristics identifying the protected classes. The bills specify that individuals or groups could have their sentences enhanced if they commit a criminal act that targets others because of their religion, race, gender and ethnicity. Holcomb’s support, hate crimes bill lacks unity

For community organizations pushing for a bias-motivated crime bill, the removal of the specific protected groups would be unacceptable. David Sklar, director of government affairs for the Indianapolis Jewish Community Relations Council, called it a non-starter.

JCRC — Rabbi: Vandalism triggered “outpouring of support”
, Newsmakers

JCRC — Rabbi: Vandalism triggered “outpouring of support”

Lindsey Mintz, Executive Director of the Indianapolis Jewish Community Relations Council, says passing that law is more important now than ever, to “send a message.” “The state of Indiana from policy leaders on down will not stand for acts of hate based on bias,” said Mintz.”

MAI — Carmel hate crime: Mayor asks residents to fly flags to show solidarity against ‘this horrific act of vandalism’
, Newsmakers

MAI — Carmel hate crime: Mayor asks residents to fly flags to show solidarity against ‘this horrific act of vandalism’

“Hoosier hospitality has no room for hate,” said Aliya Amin, executive director of the Muslim Alliance of Indiana.

JCRC — Anti-Semitic graffiti found at Carmel synagogue
, Newsmakers

JCRC — Anti-Semitic graffiti found at Carmel synagogue

The Indianapolis Jewish Community Relations Council is working closely with the congregation to offer assistance and support. The organization has also reached out to other Indianapolis-area congregations to ensure that they are taking the necessary security precautions.

CHIP — New plan to address homelessness in Indianapolis unveiled
, Newsmakers

CHIP — New plan to address homelessness in Indianapolis unveiled

The new plan also identifies four special populations that have the highest rates of homelessness – chronically homeless, veterans, youth and families. Stakeholders have assessed the best ways to assist each of these groups.

MAI — “ACLU of Indiana, others urge people to reach out to lawmakers over Trump’s travel ban”
, Newsmakers

MAI — “ACLU of Indiana, others urge people to reach out to lawmakers over Trump’s travel ban”

The ACLU of Indiana, Exodus Refugee Immigration and the Muslim Alliance of Indiana urged people Wednesday to contact their elected officials in response to the Supreme Court’s decision to uphold President Trump’s travel ban against predominantly Muslim countries.

MAI — “Local Groups Urge Hope After Supreme Court OKs Trump’s Muslim Travel Ban”
, Newsmakers

MAI — “Local Groups Urge Hope After Supreme Court OKs Trump’s Muslim Travel Ban”

Brandon Smith, "Local Groups Urge Hope After Supreme Court OKs Trump's Muslim Travel Ban," WBAA June 27 2018 Indiana Muslim and refugee organization leaders say they’re disappointed the Supreme Court upheld President Donald…

MAI — “Travel ban impacts international students studying in Indiana”
, Newsmakers

MAI — “Travel ban impacts international students studying in Indiana”

“The president’s push to tighten our borders isn’t just being felt by those who are crossing over illegally, it’s also impacting students studying internationally here in Indiana.”

IUYA — “Immigrant-rights advocates: ‘Hoosier hospitality means that we keep families together'”
, Newsmakers

IUYA — “Immigrant-rights advocates: ‘Hoosier hospitality means that we keep families together'”

The Indiana Undocumented Youth Alliance organized a press conference as part of Hispanic Heritage Month.

CHIP — “Downtown police now have third option for homeless people instead of jail, hospital: detox”
, Newsmakers

CHIP — “Downtown police now have third option for homeless people instead of jail, hospital: detox”

Indianapolis police often respond to disturbance calls about people struggling with homelessness, substance abuse or mental health issues by taking them to jail or the emergency room.

Until now.