Indiana Gov. Eric Holcomb is calling on the General Assembly to pass a hate crimes bill after someone spray-painted anti-Semitic graffiti at a suburban Indianapolis synagogue.
Holcomb, a Republican, said Monday that he'll meet with lawmakers, legal experts, corporate leaders and "citizens of all stripes who are seeking to find consensus on this issue so that, once and for all, we can move forward as a state." He said he hopes a hate crime bill passes in 2019.
Nazi flags and iron crosses were spray-painted early Saturday on two walls of a brick shed at Congregation Shaarey Tefilla in Carmel.
Indiana is just one of five states without a hate crimes law. Republican Senate leaders this year sidelined a bill that targeted crimes motivated by bias.
Holcomb said he was open to a hate-crimes bill during the last legislative session but was criticized by Democrats for not publicly advocating for one.
Opponents argue that a hate crimes law would create a special protected class of victims. They point to a provision in existing state law that allows a judge to consider any special circumstance during sentencing. That, combined with existing court precedent, means a judge could indeed consider crimes motivated by hatred during sentencing, they argue.