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Florence put forward a resolution to express the city’s support for the S.C. hate crime law

Florence, S.C. – During their last Monday meeting, the members of the Florence City Council declared their backing for the Clementa C. Pinckney Hate Crimes Act.

Bryan Braddock, one of the council members, put forward a resolution to express the city’s support for this law, which the South Carolina House of Representatives passed in March 2023. He also called for the South Carolina Senate to approve it.

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Furthermore, the council approved on a preliminary basis a change to the city’s laws. This change adds rules stating that if someone breaks a law to scare another person or group, partly or fully because of their race, religion, gender, or other personal characteristics, they can be charged with a hate crime. This crime can lead to a $500 fine or 30 days in jail, as explained by City Attorney Ben Zeigler. Mayor Teresa Myers mentioned that this was something the city’s residents wanted.

The hate crime law was voted for by House members, with 84 in favor and 31 against, but it’s been delayed in the Senate.

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State Senator Mike Reichenbach from Florence supports the bill, describing it as a way to increase penalties for crimes aimed at people chosen because of their identity. He also mentioned that those harmed by such crimes could seek compensation.

Reichenbach is happy about the support for House bill 3014 from both political parties in Florence County. He’s looking forward to the bill being prioritized for discussion. He also clarified that the bill is about adding penalties to violent crimes motivated by hate, not about punishing people for what they say or think.

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Braddock is pleased that both the council and local lawmakers see the importance of this issue. The Clementa C. Pinckney Hate Crimes Act is named in memory of Rev. Clementa C. Pinckney, a state senator and one of nine people tragically killed in a shooting at Mother Emanuel AME Church in Charleston in 2015.

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