Florida Democrats are looking to fill what they call a “gap” in the state’s hate crime law.
The proposals (HB 743 and SB 940) expand projections for, and make it easier to prosecute, hate crimes. Currently, there are no protections for crimes based on gender or gender identity, and the attack must be wholly motivated by hate.
"Can you imagine that only mental disability to the point of incapacity is targeted, and not physical disability?," said Rep. Joe Geller (D-Dania Beach). "And worst, can you believe that someone can get away with this because they say ‘Well I didn’t ust hate them, I wanted to rob them too’?”
Under the measure, a crime would be considered a hate crime if it is even partially motivated by a person’s race, religion, ancestry, gender identity, homeless status or age.
Sen. Jason Pizzo (D-North Miami Beach), a prosecutor, said it is “morally dishonest for both houses not to pass this bill.”