IN THE NEWS

Post and Courier 

April 21, 2021

Hate crime legislation advances in SC Senate in hopes of giving it a chance to pass this year 

COLUMBIA — Legislation enhancing penalties for hate crimes advanced April 21 in the state Senate, but time is running out on its chances for becoming law this year. 

Despite disagreements over the bill’s specifics, a panel voted 3-2 to forward the debate to the full Senate Judiciary Committee, where a larger group of senators will consider amendments. 

The measure that easily passed the House two weeks ago would allow up to five additional years to be tacked on to the prison sentence of someone convicted of an underlying violent crime. Prosecutors could pursue the add-on if the victim was targeted because of race, color, religion, sex, gender, national origin, sexual orientation or disability. READ MORE

AP News

April 21, 2021

S Carolina hate crime bill backers realize time running out

COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) — Supporters of making South Carolina the next-to-last state in the U.S. to pass a hate crime law acknowledged Wednesday they are running out of time in this year’s legislative session.

House-passed bill was sent to the full Senate Judiciary Committee on Wednesday after Democratic senators asked their Republican colleagues on a subcommittee to hold off on their objections at least until the next step.

“This is going to be a difficult bill to get out of the Senate this year,” said Sen. Gerald Malloy, a Democrat from Hartsville.    READ MORE

The State 

April 21, 2021

SC hate crimes bill advances as some religious leaders call to remove LGBTQ protections

 

COLUMBIA, S.C.- As the hate crimes bill got its first hearing in the South Carolina Senate, some religious groups continued their push against parts of the legislation.

The religious leaders pushed lawmakers Wednesday to remove provisions of the bill that would extend protections for members of the LGBTQ community.

They ultimately failed to convince a panel of lawmakers, made up of two Democrats and three Republicans, but could get more support as the bill moves through the Senate, in which Republicans have a two-to-one majority. READ MORE

The State 

April 7, 2021

SC House passes hate crime bill with ease. Here’s why it got bipartisan support

 

COLUMBIA, S.C.- The South Carolina House passed a hate crimes bill on Wednesday without any debate, putting the state one step closer to joining 47 other states with similar laws already on the books.

The bill, which passed by a vote of 79-29, could become law by the end of the year if it passes the Senate.

The legislation would specifically allow prosecutors to seek additional penalties for crimes committed on the basis of hate because of a person’s actual or perceived race, color, religion, sex, sexual orientation, gender, national origin or physical or mental disability. READ MORE

Post and Courier 

April 7, 2021

Hate crimes bill passes easily in SC House, boosted by business support

COLUMBIA — A bill to enhance penalties for hate crimes cruised through the S.C. House on April 7, taking South Carolina a key step closer to removing itself from a short list of three states without such a law on the books.

The 79-29 vote in favor of the bill followed surprisingly minimal discussion, as no lawmakers rose to speak up against the measure that had repeatedly struggled to gain traction in years past. All 29 votes against the bill were Republicans, but the majority party’s leadership actively supported it.

“Protecting against violent criminal acts motivated by proven hatred is not a liberal or conservative issue,” said state Rep. Weston Newton, R-Bluffton, in a floor speech shortly before the vote. “It is not a Republican or Democrat issue, it is not a Black or a White issue, and it is not a gay or a straight issue.” READ MORE

Post and Courier 

March 9, 2021

Commentary: Walmart, state Chamber of Commerce urge passage of

SC hate crime bill

On the night of June 17, 2015, the tragedy at Charleston’s historic Emanuel AME Church was added to the list of America’s most infamous hate crimes.

The next morning, public officials described our state as “heartbroken,” and I think that was a fair assessment. Yet more than five years later, South Carolina remains one of only three states in the country that has failed to pass a hate crime law.

Our inability to convert our heartbreak over the Mother Emanuel shootings into meaningful legislative action is a form of the silence the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. warned of when he said: “The silence of the good people is more dangerous than the brutality of the bad people.” READ MORE

Post and Courier 

March 9, 2021

SC business leaders, police testify in support of hate crimes bill as House begins debate

 

COLUMBIA — Prominent South Carolina business leaders and law enforcement officials testified before state lawmakers March 9 in support of a hate crimes bill, saying it will help prosecutors serve justice and send a powerful message that the state condemns prejudice and discrimination.

Their testimony kicked off the bill’s first hearing in a House judiciary subcommittee for the 2021 session, when longtime advocates are hopeful the addition of influential supporters will help advance the measure further than it has in years past.

READ MORE

The State

March 9, 2021

Equality advocates, business leaders urge SC lawmakers to pass hate crimes bill

 

COLUMBIA, SC - Law enforcement, other advocates, and some religious leaders clashed Tuesday over whether South Carolina should adopt a hate crimes law, joining 47 other states in adopting enhanced penalties for crimes that target people because of their identities.

Proponents of the bill, including advocates for LGBTQ individuals and other minority groups, argued Tuesday that it would help deter hate crimes from happening within the state. Business leaders argued it would send a message on South Carolina’s values to prospective businesses and employees. READ MORE

WSPA 

February 22, 2021

Some of the country’s largest corporations want a hate crime law on the books in SC

 

COLUMBIA, SC (WSPA) — Walmart, UPS, IBM and other companies with ties to South Carolina said they want the state legislature to pass a hate crime bill in 2021.

Representatives from those corporations joined the South Carolina Chamber of Commerce and their members for a press conference Monday afternoon. The Chamber said they are launching a new social media campaign to raise awareness on their push.

During that press conference, the group once again urged state lawmakers to move forward hate crime legislation. READ MORE

The Center Square 

February 22, 2021

South Carolina business leaders push for hate crimes legislation

 

(The Center Square) – Nearly 100 businesses in South Carolina renewed their call Monday for state lawmakers to pass hate crimes legislation during the current legislative session.

The South Carolina Chamber of Commerce is spearheading the effort and held a virtual news conference that included national- and state-based companies that support the proposed bill.

South Carolina is one of three states in the country without some type of hate crimes law, with Arkansas and Wyoming being the other two. Business leaders in those states also are pushing for similar legislation. READ MORE

FOX Carolina

February 22, 2021

SC Chamber and over 30 businesses push lawmakers to pass a hate crimes bill

 

COLUMBIA, SC (FOX Carolina) - The South Carolina Chamber of Commerce (SC Chamber) and South Carolina businesses urged the General Assembly to pass a hate crimes law.

The SC Chamber, along with some of the state's most recognizable companies, including Colonial Life, Walmart, Nephron Pharmaceuticals, Duke Energy, UPS, IBM, and AARP, put pressure on lawmakers to pass the bill on Monday.

South Carolina, Arkansas and Wyoming are the only three states in the nation without a hate crimes law. READ MORE

US News

February 22, 2021

South Carolina Companies to Lawmakers: Pass Hate Crimes Bill

 

COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) — Nearly 100 businesses in South Carolina announced Monday they want the state to join 47 other states across the U.S. and pass a hate crime law.

The proposal to allow harsher penalties for killings, assaults, stalking, vandalism and other crimes motivated by hatred for someone's race, sexual orientation, religious beliefs, or disability has not come up for a hearing six weeks into the General Assembly's session.

So the South Carolina Chamber of Commerce got leaders of some of the state's largest employers —- Walmart, IBM, UPS, Duke Energy, pharmaceutical maker Nephron — to talk to reporters on a virtual call. READ MORE

Greenville News

February 22, 2021

South Carolina business leaders want a hate crimes bill this year

 

GREENVILLE- Business groups pushed for the passage of a hate crimes bill this session and announced a social media campaign to promote such a bill in a press conference Monday afternoon.

"I think everyone on the call that is watching can clearly see that the business community is firmly behind passage of legislation," Swati Patel, South Carolina Chamber of Commerce's interim CEO, said. "And that we want to see it done this year."

Leaders from Colonial Life & Accident Insurance Company, Walmart, Nephron Pharmaceuticals, Duke Energy, UPS, IBM and AARP also spoke to promote H.3620, and another 30 businesses joined the press conference in support. READ MORE

WJCL

February 22, 2021

Companies in South Carolina push for hate crimes legislation

Savannah, GA(WJCL) —Businesses are stepping up in 2021 to do something that hasn’t been done yet in South Carolina. Pass a hate crime bill.

Over 30 of them made their intentions known during a virtual press conference on Monday. Fifty more have sent their support.

“In order for South Carolina to remain a great place for people to bring their businesses and their families, we have to demonstrate to the world that hate will not be tolerated here. Passing a hate crimes bill is one important step in achieving that goal,” Colonial Life President and CEO Tim Arnold said. READ MORE

WMBF 

February 22, 2021

S.C. businesses call on state lawmakers to establish hate crime laws

 

MYRTLE BEACH, S.C. (WMBF) - The South Carolina Chamber of Commerce and several businesses held a virtual news conference Monday to call on state lawmakers to pass a hate crimes law.

South Carolina is one of three states without a hate crimes law. Over 80 businesses have signed the S.C. Chamber’s letter urging legislators to take this step.

They said it will be crucial to make it clear that hate is not tolerated in South Carolina. READ MORE

ABC 4 News

February 22, 2021

SC businesses making stronger case for hate crimes legislation

 

COLUMBIA, SC (WACH) -- Businesses large and small across South Carolina are showing resounding support for a hate crime bill working its way through the South Carolina General Assembly.

 

If the bill passes, it would make crimes motivated by race, sex, religion, etc. a felony with a minimum of two years in prison and fines of up to ten thousand dollars.

“As I thought about this legislation myself, I couldn’t help but reflect on the words of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.” said Tiger Wells, a representative of Duke Energy. “While morality cannot be legislated, behavior can be regulated. That while the law cannot change the heart, it can restrain the heartless.” READ MORE

The State

February 22, 2021

Months since Floyd’s death, Walmart and other companies push for SC hate crime law

COLUMBIA, S.C.- Corporate heavyweights companies are throwing their support behind hate crime legislation, asking the South Carolina Legislature to pass the measure more than eight months after the death of George Floyd sparked nationwide protests over the unequal treatment of Black men and women.

South Carolina is one of three states — and the only state among its neighboring states — without a hate crime law that would stiffen penalties for crimes targeting people because of their religion, race or sexuality. Right now, state prosecutors have to rely on the federal government to prosecute cases under the government’s hate crime laws. READ MORE

The Post and Courier 

January 12, 2021

Influential Business Group Gets Behind SC Hate Crimes Bill, Boosts Chances of Passage

 

COLUMBIA — One of South Carolina’s most influential business advocacy groups has decided to throw its support behind a hate crimes bill heading into the 2021 legislative session, a move that could help push the years-long effort across the finish line.

S.C. Chamber of Commerce CEO Ted Pitts told The Post and Courier the organization will actively back efforts to pass a hate crimes bill next year in hopes of ending South Carolina’s status as one of only three states without such a law on the books — a statistic that he said businesses may consider when choosing where to locate. READ MORE

The State 

December 1, 2020

Pass hate crime law, SC Chamber of Commerce, more than 80 businesses tell lawmakers

COLUMBIA — South Carolina’s Chamber of Commerce and more than 80 business leaders from across the country called on the state’s governor and lawmakers Tuesday to pass hate crime legislation.

As one of the three remaining states without hate crime legislation, South Carolina “should not be the last state in the nation to depend on federal laws to prosecute the crimes that occurred” during the mass shooting at Charleston’s Mother Emanuel AME Church in 2015, the Chamber of Commerce’s statement read. On June 17, five years ago, nine Black parishioners, including state Sen. Clementa Pinckney, were shot and killed by white supremacist Dylann Roof, who is now on death row.

READ MORE

WSPA

January 11, 2021

SC businesses want COVID-19 liability protection, hate crime law and more rural broadband

 

COLUMBIA —  According to the South Carolina Chamber of Commerce they hope lawmakers pass COVID-19 liability protection for businesses and a hate crime bill in 2021.

They released their ‘competitiveness agenda‘ Monday. The agenda is made up of some of the initiatives they are back in 2021.

Chairman Tim Arnold said, “COVID-19 liability protection remains one of the top priorities for our businesses large and small.” READ MORE

The State 

May 4 , 2021

SC senators narrowly vote to send hate crimes to floor with days left in 2021 session

COLUMBIA, S.C.- By a very slim margin, the Senate Judiciary Committee voted to send the hate crimes bill to the Senate floor, pushing what has become a major priority for the business community and equal rights groups closer to passage.

Senators voted 13 to 10 Tuesday to advance the bill, with several Republicans voting against it. Once the bill hits the floor, it will require two votes on separate days to pass the chamber. There are only five days left in the legislative session this year, though lawmakers could come back next January for the second year of a two-year session to consider the bill again. READ MORE

Post and Courier 

May 4 , 2021

Hate crime bill stays alive in SC Senate after narrow committee vote sends it to floor

COLUMBIA — With just a few days left in the South Carolina legislative session, a House-passed bill to enhance penalties for hate crimes advanced to the Senate floor, maintaining its slim chances of becoming law this year.

In a 13-10 vote, the Senate Judiciary Committee approved the hate crimes bill May 4 after a 30-minute debate.

The panel’s chairman, state Sen. Luke Rankin, said before the vote that advancing the bill would keep it alive for now, with expectations that a more extensive debate could happen in the full chamber. READ MORE

AP News

May  4, 2021

Senators keep South Carolina hate crime bill alive for now

 

COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) — South Carolina’s effort to become the next-to-last state to pass a hate crimes law survived a challenge from some Republican senators who questioned whether it is necessary to add penalties to violent crimes based on someone’s motives.

The Senate Judiciary Committee voted 13-10 to send the hate crimes bill to the Senate floor. Five Republicans joined Democrats to keep the bill alive in 2021 after they turned aside a motion by a Senate leader to pass it over. If the motion had succeeded, it probably would have doomed the proposal with five days left in the session. READ MORE