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Indiana Black Caucus Calls For Reprimand Of House Lawmakers, Implicit Bias Training

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Lauren Chapman
/
IPB News

The Indiana Black Legislative Caucus isn’t satisfied with the response to last week’s incidents in the House that culminated with lawmakers having to be physically separated from each other.

Black Democratic lawmakers were booed and heckled last week by some Republicans after raising concerns about what they saw as discrimination in a piece of legislation. There were then multiple altercations between Republicans and members of the Black Caucus.

IBLC Chair Robin Shackleford (D-Indianapolis) said there should be reprimands for all involved – but that they don’t need to be punitive.

“We have to acknowledge and also address what happened," Shackleford said. "We can’t just sweep it under the rug and continue to move forward.”

House Speaker Todd Huston (R-Fishers) addressed the chamber both Thursday and Monday, pledging to do a better job of enforcing decorum. 

Shackleford also continued to call for implicit bias training for all lawmakers.

“They personally feel like we’re calling them racist," Shackleford said. "They don’t understand the difference between arguing a policy and taking it personally. So, that’s where the education can come in.”

Asked directly, Shackleford said she believes some members of the House Republican caucus are racist.

Huston would only say he looks forward to continuing conversations about implicit bias training.

Contact reporter Brandon at bsmith@ipbs.org or follow him on Twitter at @brandonjsmith5.

Brandon Smith is excited to be working for public radio in Indiana. He has previously worked in public radio as a reporter and anchor in mid-Missouri for KBIA Radio out of Columbia. Prior to that, he worked for WSPY Radio in Plano, Illinois as a show host, reporter, producer and anchor. His first job in radio was in another state capitol, in Jefferson City, Missouri, as a reporter for three radio stations around Missouri. Brandon graduated from the University of Missouri-Columbia with a Bachelor of Journalism in 2010, with minors in political science and history. He was born and raised in Chicago.