Arkansas governor signs stripped-down hate crimes measure

Around Arkansas

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (AP) — Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson has signed into law a stripped-down alternative to hate crimes legislation that longtime supporters of such laws say doesn’t provide true protections.

The Republican governor on Tuesday signed the bill, which sponsors called a “class protection” measure.

The new law requires offenders to serve at least 80% of their sentence if they committed a serious violent felony against someone because of their “mental, physical, biological, cultural, political, or religious beliefs or characteristics.”

Unlike an earlier hate crimes bill Hutchinson had advocated, the bill doesn’t refer to specific categories such as race, sexual orientation or gender identity.

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