House OKs Bill To Expand Kentucky’s Hate Crimes Law

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FRANKFORT, Ky. (AP) – The Kentucky House has voted to expand the state’s hate crimes law to include attacks against police officers and other emergency responders.

House members sent the bill to the Senate on a 77-13 Monday, after a brief disruption by Black Lives Matters activists in the gallery overlooking the House chamber.

The bill would apply to law officers, firefighters and emergency medical crews.

It would make them a protected class under a law that applies to crimes motivated by race, religion, sexual orientation or national origin.

Rep. Kevin Bratcher says his bill signals that people targeting first responders would face “the full brunt of Kentucky law.”

Opponents said state law already includes tougher penalties for harming police officers. They said lawmakers should resist applying the hate crimes law to certain professions.