Utah’s first hate crime bill passes House, Senate

Utah State Capitol. Photo: Gephardt Daily/Patrick Benedict

SALT LAKE CITY, Utah, March 12, 2019 (Gephardt Daily) — The Utah Legislature has approved the hate crime bill, which will now go to Gov. Gary R. Herbert, who will determine whether to sign it into law.

A statement from the office off Utah Attorney General Sean D. Reyes called the passing of the bill by the House and Senate “a great victory for Utah.”

“Today, the Utah State Legislature took an important step toward protecting Utahns and their freedom,” the statement says.

SB103 Victim Targeting Penalty Enhancements, otherwise known as the hate crime bill, gained final legislative approval before passing to Governor Gary R. Herbert to be signed into law.

“SB103 expresses the importance of establishing an enhanced punishment for those that commit crimes based on an individual’s race, religion, gender identity, sexual orientation, or identity and recognizes the unique impact these heinous crimes have on our communities, the statement says.

“This new statute does not favor some over others or seek to punish speech or thought. All Utahns deserve protection from crimes motivated by hate and the freedom to express their individuality.

“Utah Attorney General Sean D. Reyes gave a quote in the prepared statement:

“Today is a great day for every person or family who’s ever been afraid to leave their house due to hate. It’s a historic day for every parent who has stayed up worrying about whether they should let their kids go to school because of threats or violence. It’s an unforgettable day for every person who has been victimized because of who they are.

“Congratulations to Senator Thatcher and Representative Perry, Leadership in the Senate and House, and all others who made this possible,” the statement says.

“Many of us have worked for years to get a bill like this passed. Legislators and supporters who passed prior hate enhancements under Utah law also deserve credit and helped build toward this day.”

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