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Gov. Hutchinson to introduce proposed hate crime legislation

On Wednesday, Gov. Hutchinson, Attorney General Leslie Rutledge and members of the general assembly will introduce a draft of the first proposed hate-crime law.

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. — Note: The attached video is from a previous report.

On Wednesday, Gov. Hutchinson, Attorney General Leslie Rutledge and members of the general assembly will introduce a draft of the first proposed hate-crime law in the state.

The presentation of the legislation will take place at 10 a.m. in the second-floor rotunda at the Capitol.

A proposed bill was presented by a group of bipartisan legislators in June that doesn't create a new law, but it instead enhances penalties for crimes "motivated by hatred of the victim's attributes."

The penalties would be increased by no more than 20% after law enforcement authorities have proved the suspect chose the victim "because of the victim’s race, national origin, ancestry, religion, sexual orientation, gender identity or disability."

State Senator Joyce Elliot (D), who first pushed for a hate crime law during her first term in 2001, said she is "proud that we stand in unanimous support of this proposal."

RELATED: Little Rock becomes 1 of few cities in Arkansas to pass hate crime ordinance

Back in July, Little Rock became the first of few cities in the state to pass a hate crime ordinance.

A hate crime, in this case, relates to any crime that involves race, sexual orientation, gender identity, culture or religion. Offenses could also involve vandalism to statues or public art.

RELATED: Two people charged with hate crime for vandalizing Black Lives Matter mural in California

Little Rock Mayor Frank Scott Jr. believes this ordinance will better protect minorities.

"More or less, it makes it where you can have the ability to issue fines," Mayor Scott said.

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