(INDIANAPOLIS) — Indiana Chamber of Commerce President and CEO Kevin Brinegar offered the following remarks today before the Indiana Senate Public Policy Committee, which was hearing bias crimes legislation, Senate Bill 12. The Indiana Chamber is a strong supporter of the state Legislature passing a bias/hate crimes bill and has made it a priority.

Brinegar’s remarks: “First and foremost, we want a bias crimes bill to pass this session. We want the General Assembly to enact legislation that will remove Indiana from the short list of states (only five) which do not have a bias crimes law. Moreover, our (Chamber) board-adopted bias crimes policy states that we support a bias crimes statute that is both as inclusive as possible and articulates specific categories of individuals and groups to be protected – including race, religion, national origin, gender, disability, age and include sexual orientation and gender identity.

“Why does the Indiana Chamber of Commerce and the broader business community care about bias-motivated crimes? The answer is because our member companies are in an intense battle for talent as they struggle to find enough skilled workers, and they believe that it is simply the right thing to do. Consider that for the first time in our country’s history that there are more job openings than there are job-seekers. Therefore, it is critical to remove any or all strikes against Indiana – such as not having a bias crimes statute – to assist our employers in filling their own positions, so that they can compete effectively in a global economy.

“Our recent statewide voter poll* conducted in December found that 74% of Hoosiers favor the passage of a bias crimes law. Furthermore, the support was consistently high and with almost no variation among Democrats, Republicans and all demographic groups, including conservative Christians.

“Voting for SB 12 is the right thing for our state’s economy. As former Gov. Daniels once said, good policy is good politics. And SB 12 is good policy. On behalf of the thousands of members of the Indiana Chamber throughout the state, we urge the committee’s support of SB 12.”

*A December 2018 survey of 600 statewide registered/likely voters.

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The Indiana Chamber partners with 25,000 members and investors – representing over four million Hoosiers – to achieve the mission of “cultivating a world-class environment which provides economic opportunity and prosperity.”