Arkansas lawmakers file hate crime bill

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LITTLE ROCK, Ark. — Arkansas lawmakers filed a new hate crime bill on Monday in the latest effort to get one in the books.

The bill seeks to enhance the penalities for crimes committed due to a person’s race, color, religion, ethnicity, ancestry, national origin, homelessness, gender identity, sexual orientation, sex, disability or military service.

If a person is found guilty of a hate crime, the sentence could be enhanced by up to 20 percent.

Arkansas, South Carolina and Wyoming are the only states without a hate crime law, KNWA reported. Efforts have been made in the past to get one on the books in Arkansas but the attempts failed.

The state does have legislation increasing penalties for crimes committed against law enforcement and first responders.

The regular session begins January 11.

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