Georgia legislature approves hate crime bill (Reports).

Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp has signed the state’s long-awaited hate crime legislation on Friday afternoon after both chambers of the General Assembly passed the bill earlier this week.

The state Senate passed the legislation on Tuesday after lawmakers struck a deal to remove language protecting police.

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Prior to this point, Georgia was one of only four states in the nation without a hate crime law on the books. With Kemp’s signature, only South Carolina, Arkansas and Wyoming remain without such a law.

The bill, HB426, passed in the Senate by a 47-6 margin. The measure was sent back to the House for a debate of the Senate’s changes, including data collection and reporting requirements as well as the addition of sex as a protected factor.

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The measure will impose additional penalties for crimes motivated by a victim’s race, color, religion, national origin, sex, sexual orientation, gender or disability.

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Bipartisan support for the measure had been thrown into doubt when Republicans added protections for first responders to the bill, but those protections were removed from the bill and placed into another measure that also passed.

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