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The 2020 Georgia General Assembly recessed last Friday, and one of the most notable pieces of legislation to come out of the passing of House Bill 246, or what's referred to as the hate Crime Bill.

The legislation will allow judges to impose sentences that may increase punishment against those who perpetrate crimes against others based on perceived race, color, religtion, national origin, sex, sexual orientation, gender, and mental or physical disability.

First introduced in the 2019 Georgia General Assembly, the original bill was postponed or sent back for revision several times. But after the shooting of Ahmaud Arbery in Brunswick in February of this year, it brought new attention to the proposed legislation.

House Bill 246 was sponsored by several State Representatives, and was officially passed last Tuesday with the Senate voting 47-6 and the House of Representatives voting 127-38. State Rep. Greg Morris of the 156th District opposed it, as he stated last week he would. State Rep. Butch Parrish voted in favor of the bill, and State Senator Blake Tillery was excused from voting.

The bill was sent to Gov. Brian Kemp for signing last Thursday. Once ratified, a person convicted of a misdemeanor crime that is determined by a judge to be  motivated based on race or other qualifying motives, would face at least three months incarceration, while a person convicted of a felony hate crime would face a minimum of two years in prison.


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