Indiana Chamber of Commerce supports state passing hate crime law

INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. – Business leaders from across the state are the latest group in favor of seeing state lawmakers adopt hate crime legislation. The Indiana Chamber of Commerce says board of directors voted in favor of the stance.

The decision comes after more than 100 business leaders, made up of many business owners, CEOs and other high-ranking officials, voted on the position at Tuesday's fall board meeting. Leaders at the chamber said the issue was discussed throughout the summer.

“We are pleased that Governor Holcomb is making this a priority," said Kevin Brinegar, Indiana Chamber president and CEO. "Having a meaningful bias crimes statute in Indiana is not only the right thing to do, it is also important to helping our employers recruit and retain talented employees. Indiana is a welcoming place and we need to enact every policy possible to convey that message to those outside our state. As we work to attract top talent from all over the U.S. and the world, individuals need to know that their friends and families will be safe from discrimination."

The Indiana Chamber partners with 25,000 members and investors. It represents more than four million Hoosiers, most of them workers in the state.

“The Indiana Chamber will be pushing for as broadly defined a law as possible, yet recognizing that the overriding goal is for a bill to pass and Indiana to take itself off the very short list of states (five) that do not have a bias crimes law on the books," said Brinegar.

The chamber's vice president of employment law policies, Michael Ripley, said he's noticed the tech industries have made this issue something that factors into business decisions.

"As we’re trying to attract high-tech jobs and high-tech individuals to Indiana, we want to be seen as a welcoming state," Ripley said. "This is important to employers as they’re attracting new talent for the 21st century. So, it’s really important in getting off that short list of one of five states that don’t have a bias crime legislation."

The chamber will highlight the issue and others on Monday as part of its 2019 legislative preview.