SALT LAKE CITY, UT. — A once-stalled measure to strengthen Utah’s hate crime law has passed the Legislature and is poised to become law.
The Utah Senate cast the final vote to pass the measure Wednesday, and Republican Gov. Gary Herbert said he’s looking forward to signing it.
Utah’s current hate-crimes law doesn’t protect specific groups and prosecutors have said it’s unenforceable.
The legislation sponsored by Republican Sen. Daniel Thatcher creates stiffer penalties for people convicted of targeting someone because of their sexual orientation, race, religion or other factors.
Supporters say the vote is a historic move that will protect civil rights and send the message that violence targeting entire groups of people won’t be tolerated.
The measure did encounter some opposition from people who worried about singling out certain groups for protections.