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Hate crimes bill now one step away from governor’s desk

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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.

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. 

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.” 

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Glen Mills

Chief Political Correspondent

For this Beetdigger and Ute it’s an honor to be doing what he loves in his home state! Glen is an award-winning journalist, who joined the ABC4 Utah team in June 2013. You can catch him anchoring ABC4 Utah News at 4 Monday through Friday. He also serves as our Senior Political Correspondent, keeping you up to date on issues that impact your life at the city, state and national level. His political reports run throughout the week, and he hosts Inside Utah Politics, Sunday mornings at 8. The Utah Headliners Chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists has recognized Glen as the best government and military television reporter in the state. Before returning home to Utah, he spent 11 1/2 years developing his journalism skills in other states. He held various on-air and management positions at KPVI in Pocatello, Idaho, WGBA in Green Bay, Wisconsin and KKCO in Grand Junction, Colorado during that time.. Read More...

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