Georgia Senate passes bipartisan hate crimes bill, Kemp expected to sign

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A woman holds up her hand as people gather to protest against the mistreatment of black people and to let the legislatures know they want policy change, at the Georgia State Capitol on Monday, June 15, 2020, in Atlanta. The NAACP March to the Capitol Monday, June 15, 2020 coincided with the restart of the Georgia 2020 General Assembly. (AP Photo/Brynn Anderson)

ATLANTA (AP/WSAV) — Georgia’s state Senate has passed hate crimes legislation deemed essential by state leaders after lawmakers struck a deal to remove language protecting police.

The bill was passed Tuesday by a vote of 47-6.

It now goes back to the state House for debate of Senate changes, which include data collection and reporting requirements and the addition of sex as a protected factor.

A spokesperson for Gov. Brian Kemp said the governor “commends the General Assembly’s bipartisan work” and will sign HB 426 pending legal review.

The bill would impose additional penalties for crimes motivated by a victim’s race, color, religion, national origin, sex, sexual orientation, gender or disability.

Bipartisan support had been thrown in doubt after Republicans added protections for first responders, but those protections were put in another bill.

Georgia, South Carolina, Arkansas and Wyoming are the only states in the U.S. with no hate crime laws.

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