Georgia lawmakers looking to adopt hate crime legislation - WTOC-TV: Savannah, Beaufort, SC, News, Weather & Sports

Georgia lawmakers looking to adopt hate crime legislation

Source: WGCL Source: WGCL

As Georgia remains one of the only states in the U.S. without hate crime legislation, lawmakers are looking to change that with two bills currently being debated at the state capitol.

The Peach State is one of only five states in the nation that don't have specific laws for hate crimes. Those opposed to the legislation fear that the term 'hate crime' would be a catch-all characterization.

In the aftermath of the shootings at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, some health professionals say the crime may appear to have been motivated by hate but may actually be an undiagnosed mental condition.

Representative Karen Bennett is sponsoring the bill. She says it's important to separate the two.

"I believe that that can be be determined by health professionals that work in the area of mental illness," says Bennett. "And, so, we will be able to separate hate crimes from mental illness."

The proposed hate crime legislation would add an additional three to five years, if it's passed into law. Both bills have been heard in a subcommittee but they have yet to move forward.

CBS46 News will keep you posted.

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