South Carolina House gives key approval to hate crimes bill

State News

FILE – In this Thursday, June 18, 2015, file photo, mourners pass by a makeshift memorial on the sidewalk in front of the Emanuel AME Church following a shooting by Dylann Roof in Charleston, S.C. South Carolina is one step closer to becoming the 48th state in the nation to pass a hate crime law. House representatives gave key approval by a 79-29 vote Wednesday, April 7, 2021, on the proposal to allow harsher penalties for certain crimes motivated by hatred. (AP Photo/Stephen B. Morton, File)

COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) β€” South Carolina is one step closer to becoming the 48th state in the nation to pass a hate crime law.

House representatives gave key approval by a 79-29 vote Wednesday on the proposal to allow harsher penalties for certain crimes motivated by hatred.

The protected groups included in Wednesday’s bill are race, color, religion, sex, gender, national origin, sexual orientation or physical or mental disability.

South Carolina is currently one of only three states, without a hate crimes law, along with Arkansas and Wyoming.

The legislation would add up to five years in prison for someone convicted of violent crimes fueled by hate.

An additional fine of up to $10,000 could also be tacked onto these sentences.

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