Gov. Asa Hutchinson Says State Needs Hate Crime Law

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (AP) — Arkansas' governor says the state should have harsher penalties for people convicted of targeting others because of their race, ethnicity or religion, calling for the measure in the wake of two mass shootings that include one in Texas being investigated as a possible hate crime.

Gov. Asa Hutchinson told a group of sheriffs on Tuesday that he wants to end the state's distinction as only one of four without a hate crimes law. Hutchinson later said he would support the measure also including enhanced penalties for people targeted for their sexual orientation or gender identity.

“Arkansas needs to pass this legislation to send the strongest signal possible that we`re not going to tolerate that type of hate targeting minority groups, targeting someone because of their religion or their race,” Hutchinson said.

Arkansas Attorney General, Leslie Rutledge says we must all stand strong to make sure everyone knows that hate will not be tolerated.

“I agree with the Governor whole heartedly that it is time we put one of those on the books and to make sure, I will support the Governor and help him with that legislation and talk to legislators to make sure that we get that law passed in the next session,” Rutledge said.

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