'Indiana Forward' Launches Hate Crimes Bill Push

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The group officially kicked off its campaign today with a rally at the Statehouse. The group officially kicked off its campaign today with a rally at the Statehouse.
INDIANAPOLIS -

A broad coalition of community and business leaders has launched a campaign pushing for hate crimes legislation, and one of its leaders says there has "never been more support" for the idea. United Way of Central Indiana Chief Executive Officer Ann Murtlow is a lead organizer of the Indiana Forward campaign, which includes nearly 700 supporters from the business, nonprofit, education and faith communities. She says joining 46 states with a hate crimes law is a crucial human and economic issue.

The group officially kicked off its campaign today with a rally at the Indiana Statehouse. In addition to Murtlow, speakers included Indy Chamber CEO Michael Huber, State Rep. Tony Cook (R-32), Fishers Mayor Scott Fadness and Marion County Prosecutor Terry Curry, among others.

In an interview with Inside INdiana Business, Murtlow said that Indiana is attracting negative national attention on the issue, especially after the 2015 RFRA controversy.

Murtlow says support has never been stronger for hate crimes legislation, citing an IndyPolitics.org poll from November suggesting 60 percent of Hoosiers favor a hate crimes law. She says any legislation should enable stronger penalties for crimes where factors including race, ethnicity, religion, national origin, sex, gender identity, sexual orientation or disability were motivators.

The legislature has attempted to pass hate crime legislation in the past to no avail. Wilson says the public outcry after a Carmel synagogue was vandalized last summer will have lawmakers talking more about the issue. Governor Eric Holcomb and the Indiana Chamber of Commerce have stated their support for a hate crimes law.

In an interview with Inside INdiana Business, Murtlow said that Indiana is attracting negative national attention on the issue, especially after the 2015 RFRA controversy.
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