Arkansas General Assembly Promotes Reduced Hate Crimes Countermeasures

Little Rock, Arkansas (AP) — A committee of the Arkansas Senate submitted a significantly reduced hate crime bill on Monday.

The Senate Judiciary Committee MeasureIf someone commits a serious violent felony against someone because of “mental, physical, biological, cultural, political, or religious beliefs or characteristics,” someone is sentenced to at least 80 in prison. % Must be sentenced.

Unlike hate crime measures that are stuck, The bill does not mention a particular category — this includes gender, disability, or military service. The new measure does not mention hate crimes, and sponsors instead call it a “class protection” measure.

Arkansas, along with South Carolina and Wyoming, is one of three states without hate crime laws. Republican Governor Asa Hutchinson has prioritized enacting one this year. The head of the state’s top business lobbying group urged lawmakers to pass the latest bill, saying it was needed to help attract and retain jobs in the state.

“People decline their jobs because they have learned that they are not in the criminal justice system,” Randy Zuck, president and chief executive officer of the State Chamber of Commerce, told the panel.

However, the Anti-Defamation League, which has asked Arkansas to pass the hate crime law, said it would not consider the state to have a bill if it enacted a reduction bill. The group said that without naming certain protected categories, hate crime measures would be less meaningful and subject to legal opposition.

“Failure to list categories (of the bill) and name hatred will not only threaten the security of some of Arkansas’s most vulnerable communities, but will also significantly damage the state’s reputation,” said the group’s South Central Region. The director, Aaron Arkist, wrote. Letter to the panel.

The sponsor of the original bill proposed to amend the bill to include references to specific categories, but voted to move forward with alternative bills.

“I’m disappointed that there’s no more support and support from those who actually influence it,” said Senator Jim Hendren, who voted in favor of pushing the bill.

The new bill, with the support of some Republicans in the panel who resisted the original bill, failed to beat the family council, a conservative group that has long opposed the hate crime law.

The bill is underway during the legislative session, when the bill was aimed at transgender people.Hutchinson on Monday The state rejected the state’s first ban on gender-confirmed treatment for transgender youth, He said he believed in a majority override-the Republican parliament is likely.

Hutchinson said he supported the latest hate crime proposal.

“The original bill was probably the strongest, but it has done a great job in advancing the ball and protecting groups that could be targeted depending on who they are,” the governor said. I told the group.