Hate crime bill still facing hurdles to pass in South Carolina

SC State House
SC State House(WIS)
Published: May. 5, 2021 at 9:19 AM EDT|Updated: May. 5, 2021 at 3:36 PM EDT
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COLUMBIA, S.C. (WRDW/WAGT) - South Carolina is one of only three states without a hate crime law, and legislation to change that is slowly moving its way through the statehouse. But not without some questions from lawmakers.

The South Carolina House Democratic Caucus says the bill passed the state Senate Judiciary Committee on Tuesday afternoon. With a green light from the House, the bill now heads to the full Senate floor.

Republican senators had questioned whether it is necessary to add penalties to violent crimes based on someone’s motives.

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

The Clementa C. Pinckney Hate Crimes Act does allow prosecutors to ask the same jury that convicted someone for extra punishment for a violent crime based on THE race, color, religion, sex, gender, national origin, sexual orientation, or physical or mental disability of the victim.

It is named for the African American state senator killed along with eight others in a 2015 attack on a bible study at Emanuel AME Church.

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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