» Photos: Crossover Day at the Georgia Legislature
If House Bill 426 becomes law, a person convicted of a crime and proved to have been motivated by bias would face punishment ranging from three months to a year and a fine of up to $5,000 for a misdemeanor offense to at least two years in prison for a felony offense.
Opposing the legislation, state Rep. Sheri Gilligan said passing the bill would insert "injustice into our laws."
“We are lucky in Georgia that all crime victims are equal before the eyes of the law regardless of their skin color or the skin color of their assailant,” the Cumming Republican said. “There is really only one way to keep our laws colorblind and dedicated to equality for everybody — please oppose this bill.”
Georgia is one of five states that does not have a hate-crimes law on the books. A 2000 hate-crimes law was struck down by the Georgia Supreme Court in 2004 for being "unconstitutionally vague."
The bill now heads to the Senate.
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