Georgia lawmakers approve hate crime bill

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ATLANTA, Ga. (WJBF) – A new hate crime bill to protect Georgians now sits on Governor Brian Kemp’s desk.

If signed into law, the bill would add jail time and heftier fines for convicted offenders who commit crimes based on race, religion, gender or orientation.

Atlanta bureau chief, Archith Seshadri, has reaction from Georgia lawmakers on what this bill means.

This is not the the first time a hate crime bill has been introduced into the GA legislature. Around 20 years ago a similar hate crime bill was introduced but the Georgia Supreme Court deemed it unconstitutional saying the verbiage was too vague.

Georgia is one of 4 states in the country with a hate crime law — the others include South Carolina, Arkansas and Wyoming.

A new solution to an old problem.

“Hate is taken seriously in Georgia  so the key is to deter that to activity.”

Harold Jones

A historic moment for Georgia after state lawmakers approve a hate crime bill.

“All Georgians win — we all have race, sex, sexual orientation. Families of GA win here.”

Harold Jones

The move coming after recent race related protests.

“The protests were huge. Unfortunately the tragic deaths occurred played a role in moving this forward.”

Harold Jones

Lawmakers say another key component of this hate crime bill allows investigators to monitor hate crime patterns throughout the state of Georgia. That way they’re able to address it before it gets out of hand.

“Are most hate crimes in Atlanta or Augusta, or because of sexual orientation. It tells law enforcement where things happen and then you can distribute to resource with them.”

Harold Jones

The hate crime bill means tougher penalties for violators of racially motivated attacks.

“I do think this will move us in the right direction. It will make Georgia safer to live and make it a comfortable for those who didn’t feel as many Georgians have.”

Randy Robertson

House bill 426 bill comes after weeks of civil rights protests after the recent killings of Ahmad Aubrey and Rayshard Brooks in Georgia.

The revised bill was approved last night — the same day as Rayshard Brook’s funeral in Atlanta.

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