- Associated Press - Monday, February 18, 2019

INDIANAPOLIS (AP) - The Latest on debate over a proposed Indiana hate crimes law (all times local):

11:30 a.m.

A proposed Indiana hate crimes law has been endorsed by a state legislative committee.

The Senate Public Policy Committee voted 9-1 on Monday to advance the bill to the full Senate after hearing nearly three hours of public testimony from opponents and supporters. The bill would specifically allow judges to impose additional penalties against those who commit crimes fueled by biases regarding traits such as race, religion and sexual orientation.

Indiana is one of just five states without such a law and Republican Gov. Eric Holcomb has said the state is “long overdue” to adopt a hate crimes law.



Repeated efforts for an Indiana law have failed amid fierce opposition from conservatives who maintain it would unfairly create specially-protected classes of victims and wrongly restrict free speech.

Dozens of speakers supporting the bill included business, university and religious group leaders, along with Hispanic college students and transgender people who described threatening situations.

___

9 a.m.

Opponents and supporters of a proposed Indiana hate crimes law are arguing their positions before state legislators.

A state Senate committee opened a hearing Monday morning on a bill that would create a law specifically 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 and Republican Gov. Eric Holcomb has said the state is “long overdue” to adopt a hate crimes law.

Repeated efforts for an Indiana law have failed amid fierce opposition from conservatives who maintain it would unfairly create specially-protected classes of victims and wrongly restrict free speech.

Business leaders argue state law needs to send a clear message that Indiana respects diversity so the state can attract talented workers.

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