Mississippi proposal to expand hate-crimes law fizzles

Published 6:00 pm Wednesday, February 2, 2022

(AP) — A Mississippi House committee has ignored — and killed — a bill to expand the state hate crimes law.

House Bill 1467 would have created enhanced penalties for crimes motivated by a victim’s disability, sexual orientation or gender identity.

The bill died because the Judiciary B Committee did not consider it before a Tuesday deadline. Similar proposals have died at the Mississippi Capitol the past four years.

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Mississippi enacted a hate crimes law in 1994 over the veto of then-Gov. Kirk Fordice, a Republican. It provides enhanced penalties when people are convicted of crimes motivated by the “actual or perceived race, color, ancestry, ethnicity, religion, national origin or gender of the victim.”

Leaders of the Catholic, Episcopal and United Methodist churches in Mississippi were among the clergy members signing a letter in support of House Bill 1467. The LGBTQ advocacy group Human Rights Campaign and the Mississippi Coalition for Citizens with Disabilities also supported the bill.