Statehouse GOP lawmakers in Indiana booed fellow state representatives who are Black during a debate Thursday, leading to arguments in the hallway after the session and calls for increased “civility” moving forward, The Indianapolis Star reported. First, Indianapolis Rep. Greg Porter (D) spoke in opposition to a bill that would allow some students who currently attend South Bend Community Schools to switch over to a more rural, white district. Rep. Porter was yelled off the floor by his colleagues, after which Rep. Vernon Smith separately tried to make a similar point about the danger of discrimination, citing his personal experiences. Smith was met with boos from some of his GOP colleagues.
The Indiana State House and Senate are both controlled by the GOP. Following Thursday’s events, the chairwoman of the Black caucus reiterated demands for racial bias training for state lawmakers. “Our debate, even though we can be passionate, needs to be civil and substantive,” Republican State Senate President Pro Tempore Rodric Bray said.