2018 Bills

SB 86: Increased Criminal Penalties for Discriminating Against Victims

This bill was not voted on in the Senate or House.

Libertas Institute opposes this bill

Staff review of this legislation finds that it violates our principles and must therefore be opposed.

After a failed attempt by Senator Urquhart two years ago to increase the criminal penalties for so-called “hate crimes,” Senator Daniel Thatcher is sponsoring Senate Bill 86 this session to implement a similar approach. The bill is similar to one Senator Thatcher sponsored last year, which never received a committee hearing.

SB 86 would increase misdemeanors by one degree (e.g. a class A misdemeanor becomes a 3rd degree felony) if a criminal offender selects a victim “in whole or in part” because of the offender’s “belief or perception regarding [the victim’s] ancestry, disability, ethnicity, gender, gender identity, national origin, race, religion, or sexual orientation…”

This bill seems especially incongruous in light of the recent criminal justice reforms which involved a widespread reclassification and reduction in crimes, in part to keep people out of prison who should not be there.

The motives involved in a crime are not important to the action itself. Whether an assault was instigated by the aggressor’s jealousy, drunkenness, anger, or “in part” due to a discriminatory “perception” about the victim’s personal characteristics is immaterial. Taxpayers should not be required to subsidize higher incarceration rates in pursuit of misnamed “social justice.”


  • Guardianman

    The people behind bills like this are kidding themselves. To begin, you cannot suppress the expression of hate by law and hope to control it, let alone prevent it. Trying to suppress hate would only lead to it going further underground where it will fester and grow until it bares it’s ugly head in a more terrible manner. Creating an even greater problem of pathological haters for society to deal with.

    So how do you fight it? You let it air out in full expression until it is met face to face with social scrutiny. Social pressure is a far more effective combatant. A case in point, the demise of the KKK. Law did not silence the KKK. Besides, the freedoms of association and free speech would never allow that. Social scrutiny, however, has made the organization very unpopular, and nearly obliterated it’s voice.


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