Hate-crime protections would be extended to law-enforcement officers and other first responders under a measure reintroduced Monday by Sen. Rene Garcia, R-Hialeah.
Under the proposal (SB 178), criminal penalties would be increased when “crimes evidencing prejudice” are committed against law-enforcement officers or other emergency workers. As an example, first-degree misdemeanors would be upgraded to third-degree felonies in such cases.
Tougher penalties are already in place to deal with hate crimes based on race, color, ancestry, ethnicity, religion, sexual orientation, national origin, homeless status or advanced age.
Garcia's proposal also would extend the protection based on a victim's sex or creed. The bill is filed for the 2018 legislative session, which starts in January. Garcia proposed a similar measure for the 2017 session, but it did not get heard in committees.