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Bill Prioritizing Protection Of Monuments Headed To Governor

File photo: Lauren Chapmen
IPB News

Local governments in Indiana must prioritize protecting monuments and statues or risk losing funding if the governor signs a bill approved by the Senate Thursday.

The measure, SB 187, is likely a reaction to last year’s Black Lives Matter protests. It requires the Indiana State Police to prioritize investigating anyone who vandalizes or damages monuments, statues or commemorative property, public or private.

So, what does “prioritize” mean?

“It does not mean make it their highest priority," said Sen. Eric Koch (R-Bedford), the bill's author. "It just means to include among their priority the investigation of these crimes.”

READ MORE: How Do I Follow Indiana's Legislative Session? Here's Your Guide To Demystify The Process

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If local governments are deemed not to adequately protect monuments, statues and the like, the state could cut off some funding to them.

Sen. Greg Taylor (D-Indianapolis) said the GOP’s priorities are mixed up.

“Lives are being lost, children are suffering and we’re protecting monuments,” Taylor said.

The measure also makes it easier to charge rioters with a felony by classifying riots as a felony if they cause at least $750 of damage and at least five people are involved.

The Senate sent the bill to the governor with a 36-10 vote.

Contact reporter Brandon at 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.
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