Hate Crime Laws

The Arkansas Senate Judiciary Committee on Wednesday voted down SB 3, the original hate crimes bill that was filed at the beginning of the session earlier this year.

The bill never received a second in order to vote it out of committee. After a motion to pass it out failed, Sen. Trent Garner, R-El Dorado, made a rarely used “do not pass” motion to kill the bill in committee – effectively halting any future votes on the measure. Sen. Bob Ballinger, R-Oark, seconded Garner’s motion, which failed on a roll call vote.

Arkansas is one of three states without a hate crimes law.

SB 3 sponsor Sen. Jim Hendren, I-Gravette, blasted his colleagues for the “do not pass” motion on the bill, noting that in his 16 years in the legislature it had happened only one other time. He said it was an insult to the 20 legislators who supported the bill.

“It’s a hateful, petty thing I want you to think about the message something that petty would send,” he said just prior to the vote.

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