June 10, 2017

Connecticut General Assembly passes stronger anti-hate crime bill

Connecticut General Assembly

On June 6, the Connecticut General Assembly passed HB 5743, which is an anti-hate crime bill that advocates believe will be the strongest in the country. The bill makes any hate crime an automatic felony rather than a misdemeanor.

The bill is also more inclusive as to what constitutes a hate crime by adding violence or threats based on someone's gender. Additionally, the bill increases penalties for threats against certain facilities such as religious institutions and day cares. A provision for a minimum penalty of $1,000 is included as well as the ability to impose relevant community service on any convicted of a hate crime.

Democratic and Republican Senators voted unanimously on the new legislation. The senators said that they hope their unanimous vote sends a strong message to the rest of the country that bigotry will not be tolerated.

In this regard, State Senator John A. Kissel said, "It is nice to know that we can bridge the gap, across the aisle, work together, to pass landmark legislation that makes it very clear that the little state of Connecticut and that portion of the United States that's called New England finds some things completely unacceptable for a free and peaceful constituency."

The bill already cleared the House of Representatives and now heads to the governor for consideration.

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