06/18/2020—Since last writing, the long awaited hate crimes bill finally had a hearing last Thursday. The hearing can be streamed here. The majority of the testimony supported passing HB 426, but one person voiced opposition citing “thought crimes.” The supporters included a collective of Interfaith, Jewish, Racial and Gender Equality organizations.
Former Attorney General Sam Olens, who authored an op-ed, cited the need for a severability clause and necessity to include sex, gender, and sexual orientation.
In an exchange between Sen. Bill Cowsert (R-Athens) and Sen. Harold Jones II (D-Augusta), the Republican Senator justifies the need to include law enforcement officers as a protected class similar to those included in federal anti-discrimination law. It should be noted that SB 160 “Back the Badge” was signed by Gov. Nathan Deal and increased punishment for certain crimes against law enforcement.
06/20/2020—The full brunt of Friday evening’s addition came to light in Saturday’s Senate session.
The full session can be seen here starting around the 43 minute mark. The first speech came from Sen. Renee Unterman (R-Buford) and the second Sen. David Lucas (D-Macon).