Georgia Governor Brian Kemp has officially signed a new hate crime bill into law.
On Friday (June 26), in front of lawmakers in the State Capitol rotunda, Kemp put ink to paper on the bill, which received largely bipartisan support.
“This is certainly an unprecedented moment in our state as well as our nation,” Kemp said, according to WSB-TV 2. “Georgian’s protested to demand action and state lawmakers rose to the occasion.”
The Georgia Senate and subsequently the House approved the hate crime legislation on Tuesday. Until the governor signed the bill, Georgia was one of four states without hate crime legislation. In 2004, the Georgia Supreme Court threw out a previous version because it was too broad.
The new law requires additional penalties and sentences for any crime motivated by a victim’s race, religion, national origin, sexual orientation, gender, or disability.
“Under this Gold Dome there are plenty of disagreements and division, but today we stand together as Republicans and Democrats, Black and white, male and female, from rural and urban and suburban communities to affirm a powerful but simple motto: Georgia is a state too great to hate,” Kemp said after signing the bill.
The Georgia House originally passed the bill last year, but it sat in a Senate committee. Protests over the death of George Floyd and others by police nationwide reignited the urgency for the legislation’s passage.
Arkansas, South Carolina, and Wyoming are now the only states in the U.S. without hate crime legislation.