SAVANNAH, Ga. (WTOC) - Georgia now has something that South Carolina doesn’t: a hate crime law. Last week, in response to the killing of Ahmaud Arbery, the Georgia House and Senate quickly, but in measured, bi-partisan fashion passed House 426. The bill was equally swiftly signed into law by Governor Brian Kemp.
The new law stiffens penalties and sentences when a defendant is convicted of a hate crime, meaning the victim was chosen specifically because of their actual or perceived race, color, religion, national origin, sex, sexual orientation, gender, mental or physical disability.
As Governor Kemp said prior to signing the bill, while this law will not solve all of our problems, it is a powerful step forward.
Consider this: our country is on the precipice of monumental social reform and change. The ability of Georgia’s Assembly to create this law, followed very closely by the Mississippi Legislature and governor’s willingness to remove the Confederate symbol from its flag is evidence that change is it hand.
These steps, no matter how small are still progress in the right direction and in a year that has delivered very little in terms of positivity; it is something.