The Noblesville Diversity Coalition appreciates the Senate Public Policy Committee’s strong bipartisan support for bias crime legislation. They approved Senate Bill 12 by a vote of 9-1 after the NDC joined central Indiana’s business, community and faith leaders to testify on the need for stricter sentencing of convicted offenders who target victims based on their race, ethnicity, religion, national origin, age, disability, sex, gender identity or sexual orientation.
Unfortunately, the full Senate then amended SB 12 and removed law enforcement training and the list of immutable characteristics that is critical to protecting all Hoosiers.
NDC was disappointed to see Noblesville’s representative, Sen. Victoria Spartz, vote in favor of the amendment, stripping the bill of the very language that made it clear, inclusive and effective.
But all is not lost, thanks to the continued leadership of Gov. Eric Holcomb and the Indiana Forward coalition. The NDC calls on all members of the Indiana House, including Rep. Chuck Goodrich of Noblesville, to restore the effectiveness of this bill.
The problem of hate is very real for local communities such as Noblesville. Some of our coalition members have experienced hate firsthand. Others are worried for their children. In November, our high school was vandalized with racist threats of violence meant to intimidate people of color. This type of repulsive behavior is happening more frequently across Indiana, and it’s time to do something about it. Meanwhile, the business community is concerned that without an effective bias-crime law, Indiana will struggle to recruit young professionals while companies that offer high-wage, high-tech jobs will likely go elsewhere.
However, the NDC is not interested in merely “checking the box” on this issue with the passage of just any hate crime bill. We respectfully call upon the Indiana House to pass bias-crime legislation that is clear, inclusive and effective – and that means by listing the immutable characteristics that cover all Hoosiers. That means every race. Every ethnicity. Every religion. Every national origin. Every age. Every disability. Every sex. Every gender identity. Every sexual orientation. Everyone is covered – consistently across the state, in accordance with the U.S. Constitution and without any room for doubt among prosecutors and judges, whether the bias crime law would apply if the crime is motivated by a bias of any one of these characteristics.
Join us in sending a clear message that Indiana will not stand by and tolerate cowardly acts of violence and intimidation. By extending protections to every Hoosier, we can all feel safe – no matter where we live, work, learn and worship.
Members of the Noblesville Diversity Coalition
Connie Blanford, Noblesville citizen
Dan Cavallini, Noblesville citizen
Steve Cooke, deputy mayor, City of Noblesville
Laura Denis, director of Student Services, Noblesville Schools
Rev. Teri L. Ditslear, ECLA, Roots of Life Community
Bob DuBois, president, Noblesville Chamber
Pete Freeman, Noblesville citizen
Bryan Glover, co-owner, Mr. G’s Liquors
Jim Gorby, Noblesville citizen
Jennifer Harris, Noblesville citizen
Rev. Aaron Hobbs, Pastor, Noblesville First United Methodist Church
Brandi C. Holmes, Noblesville citizen
La Vella Hyter, Noblesville citizen
Cal Kadourah, Noblesville citizen
Michele Leach, Noblesville citizen
Wendy Nelson, Noblesville citizen
Dr. Beth Niedermeyer, superintendent, Noblesville Schools
Janina Pettiford, Manager, Love’s Hangover Creations
Rev. Patrick Propst, senior pastor, Faith Community Church
Dana Randall, Noblesville citizen
Lisa Sobek, Noblesville citizen
Luis Sorto, Noblesville citizen
Kim Sweet, Noblesville citizen
Becky Terry, executive director, Boys & Girls Club of Noblesville
Dwayne Thompson, Noblesville citizen
Jennifer Townsend, director of learning, Noblesville Schools
Emily Awour Wasonga, owner, Love’s Hangover Creations
Tamara Winfrey-Harris, Hamilton County Community Foundation