INDIANAPOLIS (WPTA21) – The Indiana Chamber of Commerce on Monday outlined its legislative priorities for 2019, including passage of a hate crimes law and increasing the cigarette tax.
The organization’s board of directors, which includes more than 100 business leaders from throughout the state, had voted last week to support hate crimes legislation.
Indiana is one of five states without a hate crimes law, and Gov. Eric Holcomb has indicated he will press for one to be enacted in the coming legislative session.
Chamber President and CEO Kevin Brinegar offered his group’s backing.
“Having a meaningful bias crimes statute in Indiana is not only the right thing to do, it is also important to helping our employers recruit and retain talented employees,” he said. “Indiana is a welcoming place and we need to enact every policy possible to convey that message to those outside our state. As we work to attract top talent from all over the U.S. and the world, individuals need to know that their friends and families will be safe from discrimination.”
The message was part of the Chamber’s presentation at the Hyatt Regency Indianapolis. It featured a panel of legislative leaders as well as representatives of the pro-business statewide organization.
At the event, the Chamber also calls for an increase in the cigarette tax to $2 per pack. That, it says, along with an increase in the smoking age from 18 to 21 is essential to help improve the health of Hoosiers.