Business, community groups backing Indiana hate crimes law

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INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — A coalition of Indiana business, religious and community group leaders say they won’t be satisfied with what they describe as a weakened version of a proposed state hate crimes law.

More than 100 supporters joined the group Indiana Forward at the Statehouse on Tuesday to launch a lobbying campaign for the law. Several speakers argued Indiana needs a strong law that specifically extends protections against crimes fueled by biases regarding traits such as race, religion and sexual orientation. Indiana is one of just five states without such a law.

A proposal submitted by a top House Republican would allow tougher sentencing for hate crimes, but not list any protected traits.

Indianapolis Chamber Of Commerce President Michael Huber says the law needs specific protections in order to send a clear message about Indiana respecting diversity.

Indiana is one of just five states without laws specifically against crimes fueled by biases regarding traits such as race, religion and sexual orientation.

Republican Gov. Eric Holcomb is backing the proposal , which has been blocked by conservative lawmakers in recent years.

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