Holcomb headed for House buzzsaw on hate crimes?


First-term gov setting up GOP showdown with no clear plan

INDIANAPOLIS – With over thirty years in the House and a decade plus behind the Speaker’s rostrum, Speaker Brian Bosma is the process. That’s why first-term Governor Eric Holcomb’s move to set up a confrontation with Bosma on pending hate crimes legislation is so puzzling.

Holcomb, adamant that any hate crimes proposal includes a list of victim attributes, hasn’t proven to be particularly effective with heavy lifts in the legislature (why a policy like hate crimes, that enjoys 74 percent support among Hoosiers, is a heavy lift in the GOP-dominated legislature is another question).

What’s worse, Holcomb doesn’t appear to have much of a plan beyond asking Hoosiers to call their lawmakers. He admitted to being caught off guard by Senate action to gut the bill and didn’t lay out a plan to twist legislators’ arms or barnstorm the state for some in-district lobbying. In fact, Holcomb is winging his way to Europe. It’s easier to lobby lawmakers in Versailles, Indiana than at the Palace of Versailles in France.

From the South Bend Tribune Gov. Holcomb plans public appeal on Indiana hate crimes law

“Holcomb said he will encourage Indiana residents to contact their legislators and appeal to them to pass a law with a specific list of protected traits as the House takes up the issue in the coming weeks.

“Republican House Speaker Brian Bosma said several Indiana business executives called him after the Senate vote to argue in favor of including the list, but for weeks he’s warned of significant opposition among GOP House members to the full list.

“While getting Indiana off the list of states without a hate crimes law is important for business recruitment, Bosma said opposition goes beyond including sexual orientation and gender identity in the proposal.

There are plenty of people in our caucus who believe we should take no action on this, it is not a necessity, it’s not an issue in their community,” he said. “It isn’t just about those two categories, it’s about whether there is a list and whether we have to take this action at all.”

Holcomb, who has had to swat down accusations of ineffectiveness before, doesn’t appear to have the legislative heft or a game plan to guarantee passage of a complete hate crimes bill. Though a hate crimes measure with a full list is the only way Indiana can remove itself from the list of five states without a law, according to the governor. Bosma has said that’s not happening.

Indiana Democratic Party Chairman John Zody believed Holcomb’s tendency to put his hands in his pockets when it comes to producing a long-term plan is setting him up for failure in the House.

“Governor Holcomb is going to look next level ineffective if he fails to rally members of his own party to support a position nearly three-quarters of everyday Hoosiers back,” said Zody. “Holcomb continues to govern in low gear, reacting rather than leading. If every day Hoosiers failed to deliver results at work, they’d lose their jobs. Shouldn’t we expect the same level of accountability from the state’s chief executive officer?”

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