ATLANTA (AP) — Republicans in Georgia’s state Senate have added police as a protected class to proposed hate crimes legislation, complicating chances of its passage.
The Senate Judiciary Committee on Friday night approved a hate crimes bill passed by the state House over a year ago but added “first responders” as a protected class alongside race, color, religion, national origin, sexual orientation, gender or disability.
Democrats on the panel opposed the move, saying inserting protections for law enforcement were not appropriate in this particular bill.
Georgia has gone 16 years without a hate crimes law after the state Supreme Court tossed out a previous version.
Georgia remains one of four states in the U.S. without a hate crime law.