(RepublicanNews.org) – South Carolina Democrats are angry that the Republican-dominated state house won’t pass a bill to more severely punish certain crimes if they’re motivated by “hate,” or prejudice toward protected groups.
So-called “hate” crimes are allegedly worse than other crimes, according to those who believe in the concept. For example, if a murder is allegedly motivated by the murderer’s “hatred” of gay people, black people, or another minority class, proponents believe this is a “hate” crime, and that it should be punished more severely than other murders.
In the last three days of the state’s legislative session, Democrat supporters of a “hate crime” bill complained that lawmakers were focusing on the wrong issues. Democratic Sen. Kevin Johnson said that “hate exists” and that it is everywhere because it’s shown on the news. He chided colleagues for discussing a bill on public school history curricula instead of the hate crime bill, asking why an education bill was more important.
The education bill would address how slavery and the history of racial segregation are taught in public schools. Senate Majority leader Republican Shane Massey countered Johnson’s criticism, saying the education bill could actually address the root causes of hate, but the “hate crime” bill would not change anyone’s behavior, only change the punishment after harm has already been done.
Wyoming and South Carolina are the only states that do not have a law giving extra prison time to those convicted of “hate” crimes. “Hate” crime laws generally allow extra punishment if a jury decides the crime was motivated by the victim’s sex, race, age, religion, and other “protected” characteristics.
The South Carolina bill would give judges permission to add five more years to any prison sentence for those whose crime has been “proven” to be motivated by “hate.”
The bill takes its name from a state senator and pastor, Clementa C. Pinckney,” who was killed in 2015 along with eight others after a gunman opened fire at his Charleston church. The killer was convicted and sentenced under federal “hate” crime laws.
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