SALT LAKE CITY — Long-anticipated hate crimes legislation, sponsored by Sen. Daniel Thatcher, R-West Valley City, will be considered by the Senate on Monday at 2:15 p.m.
Senators agreed Wednesday to set a time for the first of two votes on the floor for SB103, which allows for an enhancement of penalties for crimes targeting victims because of their race, religion, sexual orientation or other specified factors.
The bill was unanimously passed to the floor last week by the Senate Judiciary, Law Enforcement and Criminal Justice Committee.
Thatcher and other lawmakers before him have been trying for years to strengthen Utah's existing laws on victim targeting. Last month, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints clarified it would not oppose hate crimes legislation.2 comments on this story
At the committee hearing, Salt Lake County District Attorney Sim Gill said the bill is long overdue because of the frustration felt by victims and prosecutors over not having "a workable statue that can offer a sanctuary of support."
Before the bill was assigned to a committee, Thatcher had to win over a majority of the Senate Republican caucus. He did so in part by expanding the types of targets in the bill.
That list now includes where someone attended college, as well as age, homelessness, marital or family status, and military service. There have also been several recent incidents seen as hate crimes.