ATLANTA, Ga. (CW69 News at 10) – Governor Brian Kemp held a press conference this afternoon announcing he has signed House Bill 426 into law. The bipartisan bill was sponsored by Representative Chuck Efstration and is called the Georgia Anti-Hate Crimes Act.
State legislators passed the bill on Tuesday, before passing it on to Kemp for his signature.
Rep. Efstration said the bill addressed an existing gap in the law, which he said was the inability to properly categorize specific heinous crimes.
“Specific offenses may now be classified properly. Offenses that are based upon bigotry, racism and hate can be called [hate crimes] under the law, and punishment can be given appropriately,” he said.
This comes after the shooting death of Ahmaud Arbery, a Black man who was shot and killed while jogging in Brunswick by two White men. The shooting was considered a hate crime.
Lieutenant Governor Geoff Duncan, Speaker David Ralston, Representative Calvin Smyre and others weighed in on the occasion.
Before today, Georgia was one of only four states that did not have a law against hate crimes.
To view the full briefing, click on the video.