Georgia hate crimes bill passes House Committee

February 27, 2019

ATLANTA (AP) — A hate crimes bill that would add penalties for those convicted of targeting certain groups was approved by a House committee Tuesday.

If it becomes law, Georgia would join 45 other states with an official hate crimes law.

The penalties apply to those who target others because of race, color, religion, national origin, sexual orientation, gender, mental disability or physical disability.

The Georgia Supreme Court struck down a 2004 hate crimes law, saying it was “unconstitutionally vague” and could be applied to every possible prejudice.

Under the bill, a misdemeanor offense would result in up to one year in prison. A felony offense would result in imprisonment for at least two years.

Critics of the bill worried that the measure focuses too much on motive and not behavior.