Protection of monuments, memorials, and statues

The Senate Corrections and Criminal Law Committee heard SB 187 on protection of monuments, memorials, and statues authored by Sen. Koch.  The bill requires the state police department to prioritize the investigation and prosecution of persons who destroy, damage, vandalize, or desecrate a monument, memorial, or statue and assist political subdivisions in the investigation and prosecution of persons who destroy, damage, vandalize, or desecrate a monument, memorial, or statue. The bill provides that it is state policy to withhold state support relating to public spaces for political subdivisions that fail to protect public monuments, memorials, and statues from destruction or vandalism. The bill also provides that a person who knowingly destroys, damages, vandalizes, or desecrates a monument, memorial, or statue owned by the state or a political subdivision or that is located on real property owned by the state or a political subdivision commits monument desecration, a Level 6 felony and provides that a court may suspend only that part of a sentence for monument desecration that is in excess of the minimum sentence for that offense.

The Committee adopted amendment #4 by consent to remove the criminal penalty.  The Indiana Fraternal Order of Police and the Indiana Prosecuting Attorneys Council testified in support of the bill. The Indiana Public Defender Council testified in opposition to the bill.  The amended bill passed 9-0.

Read the bill at:  http://iga.in.gov/legislative/2021/bills/senate/187