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Governor Holcomb says bill to define, ban antisemitism doesn’t go far enough

Governor Eric Holcomb listens to a speaker.
Brandon Smith
/
IPB News
After vetoing the measure, Gov. Eric Holcomb said in a statement the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance's examples were an important part of the definition.

Gov. Eric Holcomb vetoed a bill that would define and ban antisemitism in state public education institutions. He said the bill does not go far enough in preventing antisemitism.

The bill that passed by the General Assembly used the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance’s definition of antisemitism but leaves out IHRA’s examples of antisemitism.

This came as a “compromise” as the inclusion of these examples in initial legislation drew controversy. Critics said the examples prevented free speech and conflated criticism of the state of Israel with antisemitism. Lawmakers decided at the end of session to include a reference to IHRA in the definition – which supporters of the bill said was important – but leave out examples.

The governor raised concerns that removing the examples portion of the definition may be “counterproductive.”

In a press release, the Holcomb said he is unable to sign this legislation as it failed to incorporate the “entire” IHRA definition. He said the examples are an important part of the definition.

READ MORE: Lawmakers reach compromise on antisemitism measure, send to governor’s desk

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Instead of signing the legislation, Holcomb signed aproclamation Monday that said Indiana endorses the IHRA working definition and its excluded examples.

The Indianapolis Jewish Community Relations Council released a statement in support of the proclamation. The group said this proclamation “clarifies” concerns raised by the governor and other national experts last week and affirms Indiana’s support of the entire IHRA definition.

House Speaker Todd Huston (R-Fishers) and the bill’s author Rep. Chris Jeter (R-Fishers) also released statements in support of this proclamation.

The bill now goes back to the House and Senate, which has the opportunity to override the veto with a simple majority vote. If both chambers achieve that majority, the bill becomes law.

This is the eighth time Holcomb has vetoed a measure sent to his desk by the legislature. It has overridden four of those vetoes.

Violet is our daily news reporter. Contact her at vcomberwilen@wfyi.org or follow her on Twitter at @ComberWilen.

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