Though hate crimes deserve condemnation, we opposed a piece of legislation that would expand the scope of the Hate Crimes Sentencing Act in a way which could establish a hate crime based solely on the defendant’s speech without a finding of animus. We expressed particular concerns over an expansion of the definition of “hate crime” to any person or group being the target of a crime “in whole or in part” due to a protected characteristic such as race. We noted the law could be used against, for example, Black Lives Matter protestors charged with a minor offense resulting from a protest against systemic racism.
Hate Crimes Sentencing Act (H 6147, S 803)
Representative Mary Ann Shallcross Smith and Senator Stephen Archambault
Held for Further Study