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SC Chamber and SC Businesses Renew Calls for General Assembly to Pass A Hate Crimes Law This Legislative Session

February 22, 2021

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: February 22, 2021

 

Katie Titus, Director of Government Affairs/Media Relations Manager

South Carolina Chamber of Commerce

(916) 996-2015

katie.titus@scchamber.net

 

SC Chamber and SC Businesses Renew Calls for General Assembly to Pass A Hate Crimes Law This Legislative Session

Over 30 Businesses Support Passage At Virtual Press Conference

COLUMBIA, S.C. – The South Carolina Chamber of Commerce (SC Chamber) and over 30 businesses urged the General Assembly to make passage of a hate crimes law a priority this session in a virtual press conference today. Some of South Carolina’s most recognizable companies, including Colonial Life, Walmart, Nephron Pharmaceuticals, Duke Energy, UPS, IBM, and AARP South Carolina spoke about the urgency of passing such a law in SC.

South Carolina is currently one of three states in the nation without a hate crimes law on the books. With the support of the business community, efforts are underway in the other two states (Arkansas and Wyoming) to pass legislation.

Last year, the SC Chamber Board voted to support passage and advocacy of this legislation. In December 2020, the SC Chamber delivered a letter to the General Assembly and the Governor calling upon them to pass and sign into law a comprehensive bill against hate crimes in South Carolina. The letter, signed by over 80 small and large businesses throughout South Carolina, stated that it is critical for the Palmetto State to join the 47 other states around the nation who have passed such legislation and show that SC is not a place that condones crimes motivated by hate.

A bill was introduced in the House in January, H.3620, which has support of the business community. It is the result of bi-partisan input during the summer in the House Equitable Justice and Law Enforcement Reform Committee, created by House Speaker Jay Lucas. The Criminal Statutory Review Subcommittee took testimony and spent hours drafting language that would eventually be included in H.3620.

In order for this bill to have any chance at moving forward this legislative session, it must pass the House before April 10, 2021. For this reason, the business community is urging the House to schedule the bill for subcommittee as quickly as possible.

SC Chamber of Commerce Interim CEO Swati Patel said, “Last summer was a turning point for many in the business community and reminded each of us that diversity, equity and inclusion make us stronger and more productive. We were also reminded that South Carolina remains one of three states without a hate crimes law. It is time for the General Assembly to pass a hate crimes law this session. The business community appreciates the efforts of Speaker Jay Lucas and the House Equitable Justice and Law Enforcement Review Committee to develop a bill with strong bi-partisan support. We ask the House to finish the good work it started last summer and quickly pass H.3620.”

List of Businesses Attending in Support at Virtual Press Conference

Speaking:

  • Tim Arnold, Chairman of the SC Chamber and President and CEO of Colonial Life
  • Brooke Mueller, Director, Public Affairs and State & Local Government Relations for Walmart
  • Lou Kennedy, CEO, Nephron Pharmaceuticals Corporation
  • Tiger Wells, State Government Affairs Director for South Carolina, Duke Energy
  • Jeff Wafford, Director for Public Affairs, UPS
  • Kim Overbay, Senior State Executive for South Carolina, IBM
  • Teresa Arnold, State Director, AARP South Carolina

Joined in Support:

  • AFLAC
  • Aiken Chamber of Commerce
  • AT&T
  • Bank of America
  • BASF
  • Benedict College
  • Berkeley County Chamber of Commerce
  • The Coca Cola Company
  • CVS Health
  • Ernst & Young
  • Greenville Chamber of Commerce
  • Hartness International
  • Ingevity
  • InterTech 
  • Lockhart Power Company
  • Rhodes Branding
  • Rhodes Graduation
  • SC Realtors
  • Secondary Solutions
  • Sonoco
  • South Carolina Student Loan Corporation
  • TD Bank
  • Together SC
  • Wells Fargo 
  • Womble Bond Dickinson

New Website

The SC Chamber also announced today that it is unveiling a new website to support the effort to pass hate crimes legislation in South Carolina. The website will include a tool for businesses to sign on to a letter of support to help build momentum toward passing a hate crimes bill in our state. Visitors can educate themselves on the issue, find the latest status of legislation, read recent news clips, and take action to contact their legislators to encourage swift passage of a bill.

The website can be found here: https://www.passhatecrimesc.com

About the SC Chamber: The South Carolina Chamber of Commerce is the State’s Champion for Business, with a vision to make South Carolina the best place in the nation to live, work, and do business. A statewide organization that promotes pro-job and business policies at the state and federal level, it brings together businesses across the state with coordinated strategies, trainings, committees, and events. With a unified voice, we can make the biggest impact. Our member insights shape the policies we write, and the agenda we promote at the State House. You can learn more at www.scchamber.net

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