Indiana Senate approves hate crimes bill

(photo supplied / Indiana Statehouse)

The Indiana Senate has approved legislation that’s aimed at getting Indiana off a list of five states without a hate crimes law.

The Republican-dominated chamber voted 34-14 Tuesday to approve the bill’s bias crimes language after several Democratic senators urged its defeat, saying it falls short of what’s needed.

The bill heads to Republican Gov. Eric Holcomb, who says he’ll sign the measure, which would allow judges to impose longer sentences for crimes motivated by bias.

It refers to Indiana’s bias crimes reporting statute that mentions color, creed, disability, national origin, race, religion, and sexual orientation, but doesn’t explicitly cover age, sex or gender identity.

But it says bias can also be considered due to the “victim’s or the group’s real or perceived characteristic, trait, belief, practice, association, or other attributes.”