Palmetto Sunrise: Lawmakers to renew hate crime legislation effort

Rep. Seth Whipper has introduced hate-crime legislation for more than 15 years. (Grace Beahm/Staff)

COLUMBIA — In the wake of what could be the deadliest hate crime in South Carolina’s history, two state lawmakers said they would renew their push for hate crime legislation.

Reps. Seth Whipper, D-North Charleston, and Wendell Gilliard, D-Charleston, said Thursday they would continue their past efforts to get a bill through the legislature that would increase penalties for those who commit crimes motivated by race, religion, color, sex, age, national origin or sexual orientation.

Whipper has tried unsuccessfully for more than 15 years to get a bill passed through the legislature. But the bills were either not taken up or they languished in committee. This year’s bill, for example, got stuck at the subcommittee level.

Gilliard also unsuccessfully pushed for a hate-crime bill in 2009, in an effort to protect the homeless. Both said Thursday they would renew their effort to get a bill passed during the 2016 legislative session; this year’s session officially ended on June 4.

Whipper said he expects to see some opposition to the bill like in prior years from some conservative House members. But hopefully this time more of his colleagues will see the need for such a law, he added.

“I don’t care if they call it a knee-jerk reaction,” said Gilliard of his forthcoming effort. “I got to do what I got to do.”


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Clementa Pinckney, state senator, pastor, dead in shooting (The Post and Courier)

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Statehouse Confederate battle flag remains at full staff (The Post and Courier)

For more stories related to the shooting, click here.

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