Mississippi Senate passes ‘Blue Lives’ bill, House eyes alternate plan

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JACKSON, Miss. — A day after two DeSoto County deputies were shot, a bill to double penalties for crimes targeting police officers, firefighters and medics has passed the Mississippi Senate.

Senators voted 37-13 Thursday to send Senate Bill 2469 to House.

The “Blue Lives Matter” proposal says any crime committed against emergency personnel because of their status as police officers, firefighters or emergency medical technicians would be a hate crime.

State law currently doubles penalties for targeting people because of race, ethnicity, religion or gender.

African-American senators oppose the bill, saying they fear police will act wrongly against black people.

The House Judiciary B Committee sent a separate proposal to the full House Thursday.

House Bill 645 would triple penalties against anyone who commits a violent crime against emergency personnel.

Unlike the hate crime bill, it doesn’t require prosecutors to prove intent.