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Bill defining hate crimes as violent felonies dies in California committee

Introduced by Democratic State Assemblymember Jim Cooper of Elk Grove in 2021 to address the concern over hate crimes, the bill was voted down on Tuesday.

SACRAMENTO, Calif. — California State Assemblymember Jim Cooper (D-Elk Grove) said he wanted to address hate crimes in the community by giving such perpetrators longer prison terms.

Assembly Bill 266 would have classified hate crimes as felonies to extend the sentences of residents found guilty of such crimes — but on Tuesday a legislative committee rejected the proposal on a 2-5 vote.

Failing to make it past the Public Safety Committee, the legislation isn't eligible to receive any more discussion during the 2021-22 legislative session.

Currently defined as a "serious, felony," Cooper said the bill intended to change that classification to "violent, felony" so early release from prison becomes more difficult for the convicted felon.

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