Georgia Republicans remove protections for police in hate crimes bill

Georgia Republicans remove protections for police in hate crimes bill
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Protections for law enforcement officers were removed from Georgia's first-ever hate crime bill by Republicans in the state Senate on Tuesday, one day after they first put them in.

“We’ve had ongoing discussions with the minority party for the large part of two days and within our own Republican caucus and we’ve reached a compromise that I think everybody will be pleased with,” state Sen. Bill Cowsert (R) said, ABC News reports.

The bill, originally passed by the Georgia House last year, would institute harsher penalties for hate crimes. Georgia is only one of four states in the country that doesn't have a law explicitly against hate crimes.

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There has been a renewed push for state lawmakers to pass such a law since February, when Ahmaud Arbery was shot and killed by a group of white men while jogging in south Georgia.

Democrats in the state legislature as well as civil rights groups pushed back heavily when the GOP state senators introduced the protections, which would've covered all first responders.

In addition to removing protections for first responders, GOP lawmakers also added "sex" to be one of the protected factors.

The bill would need to reach the floor for a vote by Friday, the end of the state Senate's legislative session.