The Georgia state
house denied a senate effort on Monday to revive
Georgia's defunct hate-crimes law. The measure,
sponsored by Democratic senator Vincent Fort of
Atlanta, had passed the senate as an amendment tacked
onto another piece of legislation, but the house quickly
removed it Monday morning.
representative Barry Fleming said the senate's addition
did not belong on the legislation he sponsored, which
changes the way attorneys must file for speedy trials.
"It had nothing to do with the underlying
legislation," said Fleming. "That's not the way to
pass such a measure." Fleming did not, however, mention that
the amendment was the hate-crimes bill.
previous hate-crimes law, drafted in 2000, had called for
stiffer criminal penalties in crimes where a victim is
chosen because of "bias or prejudice." In 2004, the
Georgia supreme court threw the law out after ruling
it "unconstitutionally vague."
The new bill
would have singled out people who commit a crime because of
"the victim's race, religion, gender, national origin, or
sexual orientation." House lawmakers decided to remove
the hate-crimes measure on a 153-2 vote, but
Rep. Mike Jacobs said a number of Democrats were
seeking to change their vote. He said few realized they were
voting to remove the hate-crimes amendment.
The bill now
returns to the senate, where lawmakers can choose to insist
on their position or agree to the house version. (AP)