Kentucky state Senate leaders are introducing a bill to strengthen hate crime laws in Kentucky.
At a press conference on Tuesday, Senators Morgan McGarvey and Gerald Neal announced that they are filing legislation to strengthen hate crime laws and enhance protections for victims in Kentucky.
The bill would extend prison time if it is proven that a crime is intentionally committed based on race, color, ethnicity, religion, disability, gender identity, or sexual orientation. Under the proposal, a Class A or B misdemeanor would be increased by at least half of the maximum imprisonment sentence and fine that currently exists. For a Class D felony, the term of imprisonment would be increased by one to five years; a Class C felony would be increased by five to ten years; and a Class A or B felony would be increased by 10 to 20 years.
Additionally, if convicted, the individual would not be eligible for probation, shock probation, conditional discharge, parole, or any other form of early release, according to a news release.
“We are seeing a spike in hate crimes across our country,” McGarvey said. “This bill holds perpetrators more accountable, enhances protection for victims, and hopefully helps curb these crimes. No one deserves to be killed or targeted because of who they are.”
Lawmakers have previously proposed the hate crime legislation, but have been unsuccessful in getting the bill passed in the General Assembly.