Hate Crime Bill Gets Key Approval From South Carolina State House

The South Carolina House of Representatives gave key approval to a bill that would establish the state’s first hate crime law by a 79-29 vote on Wednesday. Making South Carolina one step closer to being the 48th state in the country to enact a hate crime law.

House Bill 3620 passed the second reading and now has to pass a final reading before being sent to the Senate.

Those who commit violent crimes based on a victim’s race, religion, sex, gender, age, national origin, sexual orientation, or disability will face increased fines and prison time under House Bill 3620. It will make crimes like murder, armed robbery, and criminal sexual activity punishable by up to five years in prison and up to $10,000 in fines.

“Protecting against violent criminal acts motivated by proven hatred is not a liberal or conservative issue,” said Republican Rep. Weston Newton, one of the bill sponsors. “It is not a Republican or Democrat issue, it is not a white or Black issue, and it is not a gay or straight issue.”

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

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