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Philly city council to introduce hate crime ordinance as state protections lag

Philly city council to introduce hate crime ordinance as state protections lag
Philadelphia City Hall
Philadelphia City Hall

PHILADELPHIA — While Pennsylvania lawmakers push to advance statewide hate crimes protections that include sexual orientation and gender identity, members of the Philadelphia city council on Thursday will introduce their own measure that would add a hate crime chapter to the city code.

The Philadelphia Inquirer reports:

If approved, the ordinance would mandate higher penalties for any crime committed against a person because of hatred toward that person’s “perceived sexual orientation, gender or gender identity, or disability.” A hate crime violation would add up to 90 days in jail and a fine up to $2,000, the ordinance suggests.

The ordinance would amend the section of the code that addresses “Regulation of individual conduct and activity,” including ethnic intimidation and institutional vandalism. Violation of ethnic intimidation is punishable by up to 30 days in jail and monetary fines for a Class III crime offense.

The bill could be amended once it goes to a council committee for hearings.

State lawmakers are hoping to advance legislation that has shown little movement in the GOP-controlled state legislature in the wake of a brutal attack on a same-sex couple earlier this month.

On Wednesday, three suspects were charged in that attack.

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