Business, governor could help include transgender people on Ind. hate crimes law

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INDIANAPOLIS — Business, tourism and Indiana’s Republican governor could be the driving force to include transgender people on a possible hate crimes law.

Indiana is one of only five states with no hate crimes law. One of the biggest blocks have been conservatives who don’t want LGBTQ people included. State House Speaker Brian Bosma says including transgender people on a bill working its way through means no social conservatives will vote for it, according to the Indianapolis Star.

Business and tourism interests were a major supporter in efforts to undo the state’s “Religious Freedom Restoration Act” a couple of years ago, especially after it cost Indiana hundreds of millions in business. Gov. Eric Holcomb, who was endorsed by his predecessor Mike Pence, is a bit more surprising.

From the Star:

As a result, the battle could become ugly in the upcoming legislative session that begins Jan. 3, further complicating the rifts already present in the controlling Republican party and potentially drawing national media attention on the state.

At an Indiana Chamber of Commerce luncheon, Bosma warned bias crime law advocates — specifically business leaders present at the event — not to bring “undue attention to our state” over specifics in the hate crime bill.

“The result of this and how the discussion takes place affects every Hoosier and if this is a big knock down, drag out, RFRA-esque discussion, it is not going to help anyone, and everybody is going to go to their corner and stand firm,” Bosma said.

His main point: take what you can get.

This bill will be the fourth attempt to pass a law since the RFRA law in 2015. This is the first time an Indiana governor has supported a hate crimes bill, the Star reported. And the current bill is sponsored by a Republican representative from Northern Indiana and it does include gender identity.

Although the state doesn’t have a hate crimes law, it does track them. According to the newspaper, there were 85 hate crimes in 2017, the highest number since 2010.

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