Human Rights

Georgia Hate Crime Bill Goes To Gov. Kemp's Desk

Gov. Brian Kemp is expected to sign the hate crime law pending legal review.

Georgia Hate Crime Bill Goes To Gov. Kemp's Desk
Jeff Amy / AP

Georgia is one step closer to having a hate crime law.

House Bill 426 passed in the state's House and Senate and now heads to Gov. Brian Kemp's desk where he is expected to sign it pending legal review. Georgia is currently one of four states without hate crime legislation.

The bipartisan legislation would place harsher criminal penalties for hate crimes against people because of their race, gender, sexual orientation, gender identity, disability, religion or national origin.

State Sen. Bill Cowsert said of the bill, "I heard someone say, 'If you stand idly by and tolerate hatred and discrimination, you are part of the problem.'"

The bill was spurred by the shooting death of Ahmaud Arbery earlier this year. Arbery was killed in February in Georgia, but his case didn't gain national attention until video was released showing Gregory McMichael and his son Travis McMichael chasing and ultimately shooting Arbery while he was out for a jog. The Department of Justice has been looking into his killing as a federal hate crime.