ELKHART — The Elkhart County Branch of the NAACP will present a public forum to discuss Senate Bill 198, known as the hate crimes bill, and present proposed amendments for the 2020 Indiana General Assembly at 7:30 p.m. June 18 at St. James A.M.E. Church, 122 Dr. Martin Luther King Drive, Elkhart.
Attendees will include area clergy, business leaders and legislators, as well as the general public.
“The law as passed has caused a constitutional challenge (14th Amendment) coming from several groups here in Indiana,” according to NAACP President Emeritus Franklin Breckenridge, committee chairman and forum moderator. “This current law affects many of the largest employers in Indiana and how their employees could be treated.
Indiana Gov. Eric Holcomb has said the bill as passed this year does not get Indiana off the list of states without a biased-crime law.
This has brought civil rights organizations to question the validity of current law which was signed on April 3. Holcomb signed the bill despite his statement.
Local NAACP officials have been working with the Indiana State Conference of Branches of the NAACP to create a network of responses to present to Indiana legislative leaders for consideration as amendments during the 2020 Legislative session.
The goal is to strengthen language in the statute and include some groups not specifically protected by the law.
More information about the upcoming event is available from Elkhart County Branch President Ron Davis at 574-370-7777.