INDIANAPOLIS (WAVE) - Indiana is one step closer to having the state’s first hate crime law, but many argue it doesn’t go far enough.
A stripped-down version of the bill passed the Senate and is headed to the House.
The Republican-controlled Senate voted 39-10 Thursday in support of the bill.
After many heated debates, the bill simply reads, "A court may consider bias in imposing a criminal sentence."
This version stripped away the list of specifically protected characteristics including sexual orientation, gender identity and race.
GOP lawmakers defend the move, saying this language now protects everyone and arguing the list in the original version of the bill was not inclusive enough.
This has caused some intense backlash from both parties.
Republican Governor Eric Holcomb has said the modified version will not remove Indiana from the list of states without a hate crime law.
Indiana is one of only five states to not have hate crime legislation. Democrats are fighting hard to include the list, citing a recent hate crime that has shaken the state.
"Like the Muslim man who just this week was shot five times in the back while racial and religious slurs were being shouted by the shooter,” Democratic Sen. Jean Breaux said.
Mustafa Ayoubi, 32, was shot and killed Saturday in Indianapolis after a road rage incident.
Witnesses claim the accused shooter, 33-year-old Dustin Passarelli, was shouting things like “go back to your country.”
The Islamic community in Indianapolis is not happy with the stripped-down bill either.
“I think that is hiding behind words,” Michael Saahir, from the Nur-Allah Islamic Center, said. “We have to include all Hoosiers and when you say bias you are trying to use or excuse segments of our society and it’s not good for Indiana.”
Saahir joined other Islamic leaders before the 32-year-old’s funeral to condemn the acts of hatred. Ayoubi’s family is asking federal officials to conduct an investigation in hopes that actual hate crime penalties could be applied.
Now that the Indiana bill has passed the Senate, it will go to the House, where changes could possibly be made or they could vote on it as is.
No word yet on when that vote will be.