Indiana Senate panel delays vote on hate crime bill

("Indiana Statehouse" by Shawna Pierson, CC BY 2.0)

An Indiana Senate committee delayed voting on legislation targeting hate crimes.

The move by Senate Corrections and Criminal Law Committee Chairman Mike Young comes after an emotionally charged hearing on Tuesday. Young says time is needed to work on proposed changes.

The hearing featured testimony from the mother of an African-American teen who was beaten during a racially motivated attack near Fort Wayne in June. Her testimony came one day after her son’s attacker was sentenced to 30 days in detention.

Bills targeting hate crimes have failed in recent years. Indiana is one of just five states without laws against crimes motivated by biases such as race, gender and sexual orientation.

Opponents, including social conservatives, say hate crime laws create special protected classes that treat victims of similar crimes differently.