INDIANAPOLIS -- Indiana is one of only five states in the country that does not have any type of hate crime laws on the books - but there's a growing group that says its time for that to change.
A large group of those supporters gathered outside the Indiana Statehouse on Tuesday in an effort to sway lawmakers to hear newly proposed legislation that would allow judges to impose harsher sentences on criminals who commit crimes that are motivated by hate.
According to FBI statistics, 58 percent of hate crime victims are targeted because of their race or ethnicity, 21 percent are targeted for religious reasons and 16 percent because of their sexual orientation.
Marion County Prosecutor Terry Curry said the proposed legislation would empower judges to come down harder on suspects who are convicted of a hate-motivated crime.
“If it is vandalism or battery – if it is motivated by hate or bias, this bill allows the court to impose a more severe sentence,” said Curry.
A hearing is scheduled for Senate Bill 418 on January 23.
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