Photo by Ben Mater on Unsplash

Long-ignored proposals for South Carolina legislators to pass a law making hate crimes illegal got a big boost last week when the S.C. Chamber of Commerce called on the General Assembly and Gov. Henry McMaster to pass and sign such a bill.

“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,” said Tim Arnold, the chamber’s current chair who also is president and CEO of Colonial Life. “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.”

Currently, South Carolina is one of three states without a comprehensive bill against hate crimes. A chamber letter to policymakers was signed by more than 80 businesses and urged passage to “show that S.C. is not a place that condones crimes motivated by hate,” according to a press release. Arkansas and Wyoming don’t have hate crimes protections. Georgia passed a law in June.  

“The time has come to pass a hate crimes bill this coming session,” said S.C. Chamber of Commerce President and CEO Ted Pitts. “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.”

First published in Statehouse Report, City Paper‘s sister publication.