COLUMBIA, S.C. (WCSC/AP) - Supporters of making South Carolina the next-to-last state in the U.S. to pass a hate crime law acknowledge they are running out of time in this year’s legislative session.
A House-passed bill was sent to the full Senate Judiciary Committee on Wednesday after Democratic senators asked their Republican colleagues on a subcommittee to hold off on their objections at least until the next step.
If the hate crimes bill doesn’t pass before the regular session ends May 13, it would stay alive at its same place in the Senate in 2022.
Religious groups say they think harsher penalties for attacking someone based on sexual orientation or gender might be used against them.
State Rep. Wendell Gilliard has been fighting for this bill since the 2015 tragedy at Mother Emanuel AME Church.
The bill has been named after late Sen. Clementa C. Pinckney, one of the nine victims of the church shooting.
The bill has undergone many changes in the legislative process.
After protections for the LGBTQ community were removed from the bill, they were added back to the legislation before it passed. But non-violent offenses, like harassment and vandalism, have been removed from the bill.