COLUMBIA, SC (WSPA) — Walmart, UPS, IBM and other companies with ties to South Carolina said they want the state legislature to pass a hate crime bill in 2021.
Representatives from those corporations joined the South Carolina Chamber of Commerce and their members for a press conference Monday afternoon. The Chamber said they are launching a new social media campaign to raise awareness on their push.
During that press conference, the group once again urged state lawmakers to move forward hate crime legislation.
Interim CEO Swati Patel said, “Having the business community support for something like the hate crime bill worked very well in Georgia last summer. That’s what we’re trying to accomplish here as well.”
Lawmakers in the House filed a bill with bipartisan support last month. H.3620 has not had a hearing in the House Judiciary committee yet.
Patel said, “South Carolina has a lot to proud of. But being one of three states without a hate crime law is not one of them.”
Arkansas and Wyoming are the other two states states without a hate crime law on the books.
As it stands right now, H.3620 would enhance penalties for certain crimes if it is determined the victim or their property were selected based on their race, religion, gender, disability, to name a few things.
IBM Senior State Executive for South Carolina Kim Overbay said a hate crime law in South Carolina has been long over due. She said, “The profound sadness of the Mother Emanuel tragedy hits deeply and will be remembered as of the darkest days in our state’s history. This June will mark 6 years since that day and we still have not passed a law that will condemn crimes motivated by hate.”
The Chamber said every day South Carolina doesn’t have this law in place, the state could be missing out on business opportunities.
Critics of the legislation have said since there is a federal hate crime law, there is no need for a state one.