Critics say scaled-back Arkansas hate crimes bill is a farce

AR Politics

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (AP) — Arkansas legislative leaders have introduced a drastically scaled-back hate crimes measure that no longer refers to race, sexual orientation or gender identity.

The proposal filed Thursday was denounced by longtime proponents of hate crimes laws who removing those specific classes makes it meaningless.

The proposal instead refers to crimes committed against someone because of mental, physical, biological, cultural, political or religious beliefs of characteristics.

Arkansas is one of three states without a hate crimes law. A push to enact one by Republican Gov. Asa Hutchinson has faced resistance from conservatives.

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