HomeFlorence CountyFlorence implements stricter punishments for hate crimes

Florence implements stricter punishments for hate crimes

Florence, South Carolina – The leadership in Florence has passed a local law that makes hate crimes in the city to be more severely punished. People who break this law and are found guilty of crimes based on race, color, creed, religion, ancestry, gender, sexual orientation, gender identity, physical or mental condition, or national origin will have to pay a $500 fine or spend up to 30 days in jail.

A growing number of South Carolina cities, such as Charleston, Columbia, and Greenville, have taken the initiative to punish hate crimes. This is part of a grassroots push for more legislative action in a state that, along with Wyoming, is still one of the last ones without a hate crime law.

The decision came after the Florence city council passed a motion last month calling for the “Clementa C. Pinckney Hate Crimes Act” to be declared law across the state. The act, which is named after the late state senator and pastor whose life was tragically cut short in the 2015 Charleston church killing, aims to establish comprehensive hate crime legislation at the state level.

The bill has had trouble in the Senate, even though it has a lot of support from both parties, as shown by the fact that it passed the House with an 84–31 vote last March. For the bill to move forward, a “special order” process must be used to choose a specific day for debate.

State Senator Mike Reichenbach, a Republican from Florence, explained how hard it was to move the bill forward and said that some lawmakers didn’t understand. He said that all of Florence County’s lawmakers supported the act, emphasizing the community’s united front on this issue.

Hate crimes are becoming more common in recent years, highlighting the importance of this local law, but also further emphasizing the importance of statewide legislation. According to data by the U.S. Department of Justice, South Carolina saw 65 hate crimes in 2022 alone.

Read also: Pee Dee pair faces drug trafficking charges after arrest at a Florence motel

The enactment of Florence’s hate crime penalties represents a major step towards a safer, more inclusive community. It also sends a strong message to state lawmakers about how important it is to pass complete hate crime laws to protect everyone in South Carolina from racism and violence motivated by hate.

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