SALT LAKE CITY (ABC4 News) – Utah Legislature passed a bill to enhance penalties for hate crimes in our state.
The Utah House of Representatives passed Senate Bill 103, Victim Targeting Penalty Enhancements, Tuesday evening by a vote of 64 to 9.
“At long last, the Utah Legislature has passed a comprehensive and LGBTQ-inclusive hate crimes statute!” shared Equality Utah on Twitter.
“We are overwhelmed with gratitude to everyone who came together to pass this important legislation. We thank our lawmakers for this historic vote.”
The bill, sponsored by Senator Daniel Thatcher (R-West Valley City), creates an enhanced penalty for those convicted of targeting someone based on race, religion, sexual orientation, age, service in the armed forces and other categories. The House modified the bill to include protections for victims targeted for political expression.
Celebrating the historic House vote on SB103. 64-9! Thank you @willfullyignore and @SenThatcher for your hard work bringing this across the finish line. A final concurrence vote with the Senate then off to the Governor’s desk! pic.twitter.com/0oxvz5zL3x— Equality Utah (@EqualityUtah) March 13, 2019
After Tuesday night’s vote, the bill now heads back to the Senate which must approve of the modifications before it’s off to Governor Gary Herbert’s desk. Equality Utah said it expects the bill to pass that next procedural vote.
There is still a procedural Senate concurrence vote , but we are expecting it to pass and head to Governor Herbert’s desk.— Equality Utah (@EqualityUtah) March 13, 2019
Gov. Herbert said he appreciates the great work of the legislature on SB 103. He said it “will serve as a powerful tool in providing critical protections to Utah residents. I look forward to it landing on my desk and signing it into law.”
The Salt Lake County District Attorney called the bill “a missing piece of justice.” In a statement, Sim Gill said:
“A missing piece of justice has arrived in Utah with the passage of hate crime legislation. Those who have been forgotten can now be seen, heard, and most importantly know our community will deliver a measure justice so long denied.”