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The Latest: Holcomb says he’ll push hard for hate crimes law

January 3, 2019
In this Tuesday, Nov. 20, 2018 photo, House Speaker Brian Bosma, R-Indianapolis, speaks during organization day at the Statehouse in Indianapolis. Members of the General Assembly will return Thursday, Jan. 3, 2019, to the Statehouse in Indianapolis for a session expected to last until late April. (AP Photo/Darron Cummings)

INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — The Latest on the first day of Indiana’s 2019 legislative session (all times local):

3 p.m.

Indiana Gov. Eric Holcomb says he’ll be very involved in pushing legislators to adopt a hate crimes law for the state.

The Republican governor told reporters just before state lawmakers gathered Thursday to start their 2019 session that he was hopeful a bill would pass after conservatives blocked similar proposals in recent years.

When asked how active he would be in lobbying the GOP-dominated Legislature for the bill, Holcomb replied “Uber.”

Indiana is one of just five states without laws specifically against crimes fueled by biases regarding traits such as race, religion and sexual orientation.

Holcomb says that is hurting Indiana’s attempts to recruit businesses to the state.

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5:50 a.m.

Indiana lawmakers are set to begin their four-month legislative session, facing a tight state budget picture and a possible contentious debate over adopting a state hate crimes law.

The Indiana House and Senate will meet Thursday afternoon at the Statehouse in Indianapolis to start a session that’s scheduled to last until late April.

The Republican-dominated Legislature must draft a new two-year budget to fund school districts, universities and state agencies such as the troubled Department of Child Services.

Indiana is one of just five states without laws specifically against crimes fueled by biases regarding race, religion and sexual orientation. Conservative legislators have blocked adoption of such an Indiana law for several years, although Republican Gov. Eric Holcomb says it is long overdue.

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