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SC Chamber Calls For The General Assembly And Governor To Pass & Sign A Hate Crimes Law In 2021

December 1, 2020

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: December 1, 2020

Katie Titus, Director of Government Affairs/Media Relations Manager

South Carolina Chamber of Commerce

(916) 996-2015

katie.titus@scchamber.net

 

 

SC Chamber Calls For The General Assembly And Governor To Pass & Sign A Hate Crimes Law In 2021

Over 80 Businesses Sign Onto a Letter Calling for Passage of a Comprehensive Bill Next Session

COLUMBIA, S.C. – The South Carolina Chamber of Commerce delivered a letter to the General Assembly and the Governor today calling upon them to pass and sign into law a comprehensive bill against hate crimes in South Carolina in January. 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.

Currently, only South Carolina, Arkansas, and Wyoming do not have some type of hate crimes law on the books. Our neighbor directly to the South, Georgia, recently passed a hate crimes law earlier this year.

In July, SC House Speaker Jay Lucas formed a special committee: the “House Equitable Justice System and Law Enforcement Reform Committee.” Its “Criminal Statutory Review Subcommittee,” chaired by Representative Beth Bernstein, has considered the issue of hate crimes legislation at several of its meetings over the last few months.

Referencing the 2015 Mother Emanuel Church shooting and the fact that South Carolina should not be the last state in the nation to depend on federal laws to prosecute the crimes that occurred that day, the Chamber’s letter follows an August vote by the SC Chamber Board of Directors supporting efforts to advocate for a hate crimes bill. Some of South Carolina’s most recognizable marquee companies added their names to the call including, AT&T, Bank of America, Blue Cross Blue Shield, Bridgestone, Colonial Life, Michelin, Milliken, Nephron, Nucor, Sonoco, UPS, Verizon, Volvo, and Wells Fargo, to name a few, as well as many small businesses from around the state.

Passage of a hate crimes bill will be on the SC Chamber’s legislative agenda for next year; the agenda in its entirety will be announced in January 2021.

Quotes:

Ted Pitts, SC Chamber of Commerce President and CEO: “With Georgia’s legislature passing a hate crimes law over the summer, South Carolina is now one of only three states in the nation that does not have a hate crimes law on the books. The time has come to pass a hate crimes bill this coming session. The state’s business community looks forward to working with the House, the Senate, and the Governor to quickly pass a meaningful bill that shows South Carolina does not condone crimes motivated by hate.”

Tim Arnold, Colonial Life President and CEO, and Chairman, SC Chamber of Commerce: “The events we’ve seen across the country over the last year have reinforced that we have much to do as a society to fight racism and injustice. Passing a hate crimes law in South Carolina is one more step we can take to show the nation that our great state will not tolerate crimes motivated by hate of a person because of their race, religion or ethnicity. Colonial Life and South Carolina’s business community urge the General Assembly to pass a hate crimes law next session.”

Derrick Johnson, UPS South Atlantic District President: “UPS is committed to advancing justice and equality across the country and around the world, especially through supporting public policy that protects our employees and communities against hate. Not just for our more than 6,000 UPSers in the state, but for all South Carolinians, we urge the South Carolina legislature to swiftly pass and enact hate crimes legislation.”

DeeDee Henderson, Executive Vice President of Clinical Operations, Agape Care South Carolina: “We’re often told to never judge a book by its cover, but hates crimes do just that. When a person is reduced to only their race, religion, debility, sexual orientation or gender identity the world may miss out on their talent and ability. We need to hold accountable everyone that uses violence out of bias, fear or ignorance. At a time in history where the social fabric of our community is severely distressed, the time has come but it has not passed – South Carolina, let’s act!”

 

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