For Immediate Release:
April 2, 2019
Ross Chambless, Communications Specialist
Utah House Democratic Caucus
(385) 228-5483 | firstname.lastname@example.org
House Democrats Praise the Passage of Stronger Hate Crimes Law for Utah
SALT LAKE CITY – Today during Governor Herbert’s ceremonial signing of S.B. 103 “Victim Targeting Penalty Enhancements,” Utah House Democrats Rep. Patrice Arent and Rep. Sandra Hollins spoke about the significance of the legislation that strengthens Utah’s hate crimes law.
Rep. Arent, who is the only Jewish member of the legislature, spoke about an attack by a man on her synagogue in 2012.
“His actions sent fear throughout our Jewish community in a different way than a simple property crime,” said Rep. Arent. “But under Utah law at that time, he could only be charged with a misdemeanor, so federal prosecutors had to step in. With the passaging of SB 103, Utahns will be protected by our own state law.”
Rep. Arent added, “It is a strength of our country and state that expression of a belief is protected, no matter how offensive it may be to others. But until today, it has been a failing of our state to allow people to commit a crime motivated by that hateful belief without serious consequences. Today, that ends. Today, we come together as a state to hold accountable those who commit crimes in the name of hate. Today, we stand together to ensure the safety and welfare of all our neighbors.”
Rep. Hollins, Utah’s first female African American legislator, spoke about the impact hate crimes have had on her community.
“We know that there are those in our community, including myself, who wonder if they are in danger simply because of where they pray, what they look like or who they love,” said Rep. Hollins. “I am encouraged by what we have accomplished in the 2019 session, but this does not mean that we have prevented all future hateful challenges and injustices from occurring. This law is a tool that we now have to fight against those injustices. We must continue to stay vigilant and committed to the well-being of all Utahns.”
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