The Senate Public Policy Committee heard Sen. Bohacek’s SB 12 on bias motivated crimes.  The bill makes it an aggravating circumstance (for purposes of imposing a criminal sentence) that a crime was committed with the intent to harm or intimidate an individual or a group of individuals because of certain perceived or actual characteristics of the individual or group of individuals. The bill also requires law enforcement agencies to report bias motivated crimes to the Federal Bureau of Investigation.
The committee amended the bill to remove the following categories: political affiliation, status as a public safety official, status as a relative of a public safety official, service in the armed forces of the United States, and association with any recognizable group or affiliation.  The amendment also adds training requirements for law enforcement officers concerning bias motivated crimes and specifies the way bias motivated crimes must be reported to the state police department. After more than three hours of public testimony and committee discussion, the amended bill passed 9-1.