Senators keep South Carolina hate crime bill alive for now

South Carolina News

FILE – In this Thursday, June 18, 2015, file photo, mourners pass by a makeshift memorial on the sidewalk in front of the Emanuel AME Church following a shooting by Dylann Roof in Charleston, S.C. South Carolina is one step closer to becoming the 48th state in the nation to pass a hate crime law. House representatives gave key approval by a 79-29 vote Wednesday, April 7, 2021, on the proposal to allow harsher penalties for certain crimes motivated by hatred. (AP Photo/Stephen B. Morton, File)

COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) — South Carolina’s effort to become the next-to-last state to pass a hate crimes law has survived a challenge from some Republican senators.

The senators had questioned whether it is necessary to add penalties to violent crimes based on someone’s motives.

The “Clementa C. Pinckney Hate Crimes Act” allows prosecutors to ask the same jury that convicted someone for extra punishment for a violent crime based on the race, color, religion, sex, gender, national origin, sexual orientation or physical or mental disability of the victim.

It is named for the African American state senator killed along with eight others in a 2015 racist attack on a Bible study at Emanuel AME Church.

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