|Understanding Our Victory in the Hate Crime Battle
As you may have read in my Monday evening email, the Indiana House amended Senate Bill 198 to include bias or hate crime language. In my email I said that this was a victory for equal justice under law. There has been a little confusion over this. Here is the amendment language and some reasons why this is still a win for us:
“The person committed the offense with bias due to the victim’s or the group’s real or perceived characteristic, trait, belief, practice, association, or other attribute the court chooses to consider, including but not limited to an attribute described in IC 10-13-3-1.31”
• The amendment does not create new language that limits judges to a politically preferred victim list.
• Unlike the bill supported by the Governor and Senate liberals with a confining or exclusive list, this language covers everyone. ( The original California style hate crime version of SB 12 had a list of 14 categories, but they removed three of them – belief, police and military victims, revealing that they wanted justice for some, but not all.)
• The code citing contains a list in the definition of bias crime, but this list has been Indiana code since 2003. Due to the 2005 Witmer Indiana Supreme Court ruling, that list is superfluous. It does not limit a judge to sentencing enhancements only for certain victims.
• The amendment reiterates a judge’s broad sentencing ability in the Witmer ruling with the words “including but not limited to” as well as “other attribute the court chooses to consider.”
• This amendment is essentially just a restatement of current practice judges have employed since the 2005 Witmer ruling. One could argue that this bill is not needed, and I would agree. It changes nothing. It simply is “doing something” to appease the business groups claiming that Indiana is on some activist group’s faulty list of states without a hate crime statute.
• Unlike other proposals, this language focuses far more on victims than it does on the motives or thoughts of the perpetrator.
Some have looked at this and concluded that, with the code citing, it does “include a list.” We had put out the message repeatedly that we do not want a government referenced victim list. I would have preferred that there be no reference to any list, whether it mean anything or not. The Senate could still change this language if they choose to do so, and reaffirm what they did without a list in the amended version of Senate Bill 12, which the House has chosen to bypass through this change to SB 198.
Our attorney reviewed this language and explained it to me this way. It is like a paint store advertising “we sell paint, including yellow, green and blue.” But they also sell red, grey, orange, and all other colors.
Our number one concern in the battle over hate crimes was protecting equal justice under law and protecting speech and beliefs. This amendment protects those values.
Addressing the Importance of Civics Knowledge in a Self-Governing Republic
I am at the statehouse today. This morning I will be observing the House Education Committee as it is expected to pass Senate Bill 132, which requires Indiana high school students to pass the same basic history and civics test that we require all new citizens to pass.
AFA of Indiana has pushed for this legislation, authored by Senator Dennis Kruse, for several years. I am very pleased that it will finally reach the House floor for a vote, and hopefully pass on to the Governor’s desk for his signature next month. If you would like to take the test and see how you do, here it is: https://joefossinstitute.org/civics-curriculum/us-citizenship-test/
You Mean Millennials Want What Other Generations Wanted Too?
There has been a great deal of political and cultural obsession with the views and values of the young, millennial generation. Far too many politicians and business groups have catered to this group and their more liberal views. The previous mayor of Indianapolis practically made all his economic decisions based upon what this group supposedly wanted.
However, a new study from the Brookings Institute actually finds that, as this group ages, they tend to want what similar groups wanted and still want now. It finds that contrary to many economic and political theories, young millennials are not flocking to dense cities for their cultural opportunities, bike paths, mass transit or liberal social policies. Rather than moving toward the large liberal cities, they are actually moving away from them.
According to demographer Bill Frey, the 2013 to 2017 American Community Survey shows that New York now suffers the largest net annual out-migration of post-college millennials (ages 25 to 34) of any metro area followed by Los Angeles, Chicago, and San Diego. New York’s losses are 75 percent higher than during the previous five-year period.
The media frequently exaggerates millennial growth in the urban areas. In reality, nearly 80 percent of millennial population growth since 2010 has been in the suburbs where most families live.
Dense, high-priced cities attract young people straight from college, but many aren’t staying there. Some of the “best and brightest” still migrate to “superstar” cities, but they don’t stay long. The average resident in the downtown areas, so popular with post-college millennials, has lived in the same house for about 2.4 years, compared with seven or more years for those in the suburbs.
It seems that as life progresses, millennials are wanting what most others want, family-friendly, affordable housing and the family-centered amenities of the suburbs.
The study also finds that the cities that are seeing growth of post-college millennials and retaining them are in more conservative states including places like Nashville, Tennessee; Charlotte, North Carolina; Kansas City, Missouri; Columbus, Ohio; and Fort Worth, Texas where family housing can cost one-third less than many liberal states’ cities.
In Their Own Words
“In a world which furnishes so many employments which are useful, so many which are amusing, it is our own fault if we ever know what ennui [weariness; heaviness] is, or if we are ever driven to the miserable resources of gaming, which corrupts our dispositions, and teaches us a habit of hostility against all mankind.” – Thomas Jefferson, in a letter to Martha Jefferson, 1787