CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCBD) – The Hate Crimes Bill is working its way through the South Carolina Senate.
A subcommittee approved it by a 3-2 and local leaders say this is the step in the right direction, but there is still work to be done.
“We have one mission here, to help this bill along so it can come to fortition, not only for Mother Emanuel, but for people in this state and in this country,” says State Representative Wendell Gilliard.
Leaders like Gilliard have fought for this bill for years and he says it will help stop hate crimes from going unnoticed.
“When you don’t have Hate Crime law in your state, people won’t come forward to report hate crime and the state cannot keep statistics,” he says.
Lawmakers say this is just one step in the right direction.
“I hope that we will continue to keep the bills integrity in tact and once that’s done, then we will have something in the books that will be beneficial for all South Carolinians,” says State Representative Marvin Pendarvis.
They say this bill getting passed will benefit victims of hate crimes, including those impacted by the Charleston church shooting.
“Mother Emanuel is moving forward and they want the state to move forward with them. It is very important that this bill becomes law because they understand it, they get it,” Gilliard says.
A second hearing is set for the full senate judiciary committee next week.