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Mich. House OKs broader hate crime law

By JOHN FLESHER, Associated Press Writer

Nov. 13, 2008 (AP): The Michigan House has voted to increase the number of groups whose members could be considered victims of hate crimes.

A bill to revise the ethnic intimidation law was approved 82-18 Thursday and now goes to the Senate.

Rep. Paul Condino, a Southfield Democrat, said police and prosecutors favor the measure. He said it would give more flexibility in cases such as the display of nooses at Central Michigan University last year.

Under the bill, a person could be charged with a bias-related offense for a crime based on disability, sexual identity or expression. That's in addition to characteristics covered by existing law, such as race, gender and religion.

Republican Rep. Tonya Schuitmaker of Lawton supported the measure but said it might run counter to reducing the prison population.

 

 

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