“Hate Crimes Prevention Act” would expand N.C. protections

With hate crimes on the rise in North Carolina – and nationwide – a bill filed Thursday seeks to expand North Carolina’s minority protections.

Senate Bill 209 – The Hate Crimes Prevention Act – would expand the state’s current hate crimes law to include sexual orientation, gender, gender identity, gender expression, ethnicity and disability.

It would also require the creation of a hate crime reporting database at the State Bureau of Investigation and hate crime related training for both law enforcement and prosecutors.

The bill’s primary sponsors are Senators Jay Chaudhuri (D-Wake), Valerie Foushee (D -Orange) and Mujtaba Mohammed (D – Mecklenburg).

“This act will not eliminate hate crimes or hate groups,” Chaudhuri said in a statement Thursday. “But, this will signal to businesses across the country and internationally that North Carolina is a welcoming state, a state that works to recognize diversity and that our diversity is our greatest strength, not our weakness.”

The state’s image was badly tarnished in the fight over HB2. The law, passed in March 2016, eliminated legal protections for the LGBT community and mandated that individuals in government buildings use restrooms that corresponded to the gender on their birth certificate. It generated international media attention and led to boycotts of the state.

Its successor law is still being challenged.

Transgender North Carolinians are still denied healthcare related to gender dysphoria under the state employee health care plan, though it is covered by the company through which state employees are ensured.

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