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South Carolina House gives key approval to hate crimes bill

In this June 18, 2015, photo, a group of women pray together at a makeshift memorial on the...
In this June 18, 2015, photo, a group of women pray together at a makeshift memorial on the sidewalk in front of the Emanuel AME Church, in Charleston, S.C. where Dylann Roof kill nine people in a racist attack. South Carolina is one step closer to becoming the 48th state in the nation to pass a hate crime law. (AP Photo/Stephen B. Morton, File)(GIM)
Published: Apr. 8, 2021 at 10:41 AM EDT
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COLUMBIA, S.C. (WIS) - South Carolina is one step closer to becoming the 48th state in the nation to pass a hate crime law.

House representatives gave key approval by a 79-29 vote Wednesday on the proposal to allow harsher penalties for certain crimes motivated by hatred.

The protected groups included in Wednesday’s bill are race, color, religion, sex, gender, national origin, sexual orientation, or physical or mental disability.

South Carolina is currently one of only three states, without a hate crimes law, along with Arkansas and Wyoming.

The legislation would add up to five years in prison for someone convicted of violent crimes fueled by hate.

An additional fine of up to $10,000 could also be tacked onto these sentences.

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