Ky. lawmakers working on bill that addresses hate crime laws
LEXINGTON, Ky. (WKYT) - Senators Morgan McGarvey and Gerald Neal hope a new bill will put an end to hate crimes in Kentucky. They told reporters it’s time to start holding people accountable for their actions.
“Whether it’s the painting of a swastika on the side of a synagogue or a the cold-blooded, gunning-down of two people in Kroger,” Sen. McGarvey said.
Under the bill, a person must be convicted of a crime before having a separate hearing to determine if the person is guilty of a hate crime. If convicted of the hate crime, the person will have time added to their sentence.
This bill comes almost four years after Maurice Stallard and Vickie Jones were shot and killed at a Kroger in Jeffersontown outside of Louisville. Gregory Bush was convicted of the racially motivated shooting and sentenced to life in prison without parole in federal court.
Even though there are federal laws targeting hate crimes, the senators say Kentucky laws should also address the issue.
“We should not rely on the federal government to act. In fact, we have no control over whether the federal government acts or not on a given case,” Senator Neal said.
The families of Stallard and Jones support the new hate crime bill.
“We are missing my father at holidays, events, at birthdays, things that he would have wanted to attend with us,” said Kellie Stallard Watson, the daughter of Maurice Stallard.
“I still miss my sister just like it was three years ago. I think about her every day,” said Samuella Gathright, Vickie Jones’ sister.
Sara Wagner, president and CEO of the Jewish Federation of Louisville, hopes the bill passes.
“We all deserve to live not in fear, not uncomfortable, and not looking over our shoulders,” Wagner said.
Senators Neal and McGarvey plan to file the new hate crime bill Tuesday.
Copyright 2022 WKYT. All rights reserved.