ATLANTA, Ga. (WTVM) - House Bill 426, also known as Georgia’s hate crime bill, has passed through both the state Senate and House of Representatives and will now move to the desk of Governor Brian Kemp.
The bill, which passed the Senate by a vote of 47-6 and a House vote of 127-38, stiffens penalties and sentences when a defendant is convicted of a hate crime, meaning the victim was chosen specifically because of their actual or perceived race, color, religion, national origin, sex, sexual orientation, gender, mental disability or physical disability.
If the hate crime a defendant is convicted of is a misdemeanor, they will receive a prison sentence of at least six months, but no more than one year and a fine of no more than $5,000.
If the hate crime a defendant is convicted of is a felony, they will receive a prison sentence of at least two years and a fine of no more than $5,000.
It also requires law enforcement officers to submit a report on any case they investigate in which they believe a hate crime to have taken place. This data will then be used for statistical purposes.
A previous version of the bill listed police and first responders as protected classes, leading many supporters on both sides of the political aisle to question their support for the bill. That protection was removed prior to the Senate vote.
Read the full bill below.