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Virginia lawmakers pass bill expanding hate crimes to different groups

A Senate committee advanced a bill that would add gender, disability, gender identity and sexual orientation as categories under the umbrella of hate crimes.

RICHMOND, Va. — A bill that would expand the range of groups that could be victims of hate crimes has just passed through a Virginia Senate committee.

Senate Bill 179 bolsters state law on hate crimes that could not only be motivated by just race but by gender, disability, gender identity and sexual orientation.

The Senate Finance and Appropriations Committee unanimously advanced the measure.

Victims can report assault, assault and battery, or trespassing for the purpose of damaging another's property as a hate crime, which could result in a higher criminal penalty for the offense.

This also includes intimidation, harassment, violence directed against someone or vandalism to personal property.

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