Alex Blaze

Hate Crimes bill may die

Filed By Alex Blaze | March 06, 2007 8:08 PM | comments

Filed in: Marriage Equality, Politics
Tags: hate crimes against LGBT people, Indiana General Assembly, Jackie Walorski, libertarianism, religious right

From the Indianapolis Star:

The House Courts and Criminal Code Committee voted 9-1 in February to pass the bill. But after Rep. Jackie Walorski, R-Lakeville, proposed an amendment, the legislation stalled and was not called for a vote before the full House.
Walorski's amendment would have made the hate-crime legislation apply to a fetus. House Democrats decided not to call Porter's bill for a second reading to avoid discussion of the amendment.
I've been wanting to blog about this since I got the email last week from Indiana Equality on the matter. I was flabbergasted for two reasons. First, I didn't know that one member of the House could unilaterally amend a bill and have that amendment stick. I'm pretty sure that she can't, but that no one is standing up to her on this one. I'm not totally up on Indiana civics, so if you all know more about what sort of power she has to do this, please enlighten me in the comments.

Second, It's nice to see a social conservative finally admit that the whole "life begins at conception" is just a ploy to push a specific political agenda, for at least one House Republican. You have to wonder about the un-Holy marriage between big-business libertarians and the Religious Right considering that those two philosophies are nearly exact opposites of each other; the Sermon on the Mount is probably as far away as one can philosophically get from Social Darwinism. It's always been my suspicion that the abortion issue was made a religious issue to get Christian voters to support a pro-business agenda because Christianity, with its emphasis on community, helping the poor, virtue in charity, and belief in an objective morality, is pretty threatening to free market ideals. So to see Rep. Walorski throw the word fetus into the bill to try to stop it is ironic in that a Religious Right hot-button issue is being used so cynically, and so blatantly, to promote a libertarian agenda. Makes ya think.

And just this one more bit from 365gay:

(Indianapolis, Indiana) Legislation to provide stiffer sentences in hate crime cases has been shelved after a Republican lawmaker moved to amend the bill in what is being described as a ploy to emasculate it.
Yeah. The amendment emasculated the bill. Because after the amendment it was made feminine. Or maybe powerless, and therefore feminine. Like putting it in a dress and making it give a speech on the floor of the General Assembly.

Seriously I don't know why they used the word "emasculated" there. Isn't it a gay website?

Update: Doug of Masson's Blog answers my question in the comments. Just wanted to let those of you who don't normally read the comments that it's there.

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She can't unilaterally attach the amendment. After a bill is passed out of committee, it has to undergo "Second Reading." (First Reading is the pro forma introduction of the bill where it is referred to committee). On Second Reading, any member of the chamber can propose an amendment which, barring a procedural challenge on grounds such as germaneness, is voted on by the chamber. If the amendment passes, it becomes part of the bill. The whole bill is then voted on by the chamber on Third Reading.

I'm hearing that there just wasn't enough support from our community. Micah Clark and Co are claiming credit for their e-mail campaign's success - and I'm hearing that our community didn't send any real signal that it was important to us. I'm hearing that the ratio of communication was 20 for vs 100 against.

I forgot to add (since I had predicted that our community's lobbyists would get the language inserted elsewhere) that I officially take back my prediction. It looks like it's dead - they failed.

This was almost a gimme. It truly shows the need for grassroots support and community coalitions. If we'd had the support and full backing of all the communities covered under the proposed hate crimes law, we'd have won.

Anonymous | March 7, 2007 6:59 AM

Let's hope this is not a harbinger of things to come for SJR7.

I fear it is, however.