FRANKFORT, Ky. (LEX 18) – A Louisville Senator has pre-filed legislation that establishes hate crimes as a separate offense and designates criminal penalties.
The legislation is in direct response to the recent Kroger shooting deaths in Louisville, KY. A federal hate crime charge was filed in the case.
“The current hate crimes legislation in Kentucky is useless. It provides no appropriate response to this insidious form of violence that targets people because of their racial, religious, ethnic, or other identified group affiliations. We are called upon to correct this,” said Sen. Gerald A. Neal.
The bill would create the separate offense of a hate crime. The bill would:
- Repeal the current hate crimes statute, which carries no criminal penalty – it only provides for potential denial of probation or parole.
- Enacts in its place a new hate crime statute, which:
o Carries a penalty of 10 years or more
o Incorporates the offenses which were covered under the old statute
o Adds homicide offenses
o Classifies hate crimes under the violent offender statute, and
o Automatically denies probation or parole for a hate crime until 85% of the sentence is served.
Across the nation, hate crimes were on the rise for the third consecutive year in 2017. The FBI data showed an increase in hate crimes nationally went up 17 percent and there was an even bigger increase in anti-Semite attacks. Even though data shows a slight overall decrease in violent crime in America, the number of hate crimes still went up by more than a thousand reported cases.
The FBI identifies hate crimes as those with an added element of bias, i.e. the victim is gay or black or Muslim.