ELKHART — A public forum of select stakeholders and invited state legislators will discuss amendments to current legislation (SB 198) at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday at St. James A.M.E. Church, 122 Dr. Martin Luther King Drive, Elkhart.
The meeting is being hosted by the Elkhart County Branch of the NAACP.
The so called “Hate Crimes” bill which was signed by Gov. Eric Holcomb on April 3 is being challenged as unconstitutionally vague and not inclusive of all gender classes, NAACP leaders said in a press statement.
The forum will take place directly after a NAACP Branch business meeting. It will be in the auditorium of the church.
Area representatives from the groups directly affected by SB 198 will have an opportunity to shape amendments to be presented to legislative committees this fall for the 2020 state government session which begins in January.
Panel guests include Bob Feferman, community relations director at the Jewish Federation, Richard Aguirre, Goshen College community relations executive director, Nakeisha Alexis, AMBS Intercultural Competence and Undoing Racism Coordinator, Felipe Merino, Immigration law attorney and Marzy Bauer, Women’s interfaith chairman dialog group religious community temple Beth-el’s.
Elkhart County state legislators Blake Doriot, Doug Miller, Tim Wesco, Linda Rogers, Curt Nisly and Christy Stutzman have been invited to sit on the panel. As of this date none of them have confirmed their attendance, therefore their constituents do not know how or why they voted on SB 198, the organization’s leaders said.
The NAACP is a non partisan organization but our elected officials must be held accountable, NAACP officials stated.
The public will have an opportunity to submit questions and comments on how legislative amendments will be presented to the appropriate committee(s) in the fall.
Also, a legislative sponsor for the amendments is being sought from those favorable to this new legislation from across the state.
Statewide NAACP branches across Indiana have taken action in the form of letters, public forums, petitions, marches, rallies and lobbying efforts.
Contact Elkhart County Chapter President, Ron Davis at 574-370-7777 for additional information about the upcoming event.