South Carolina hate crime bill backers realize time running out

State - Regional

South Carolina state Rep. Beth Bernstein, D-Columbia, left, and Rep. Wendell Gillard, D-Charleston, right, listen to a Senate hearing about a hate crime bill they both sponsored, Wednesday, April 21, 2021, in Columbia, S.C. The Senate is considering the hate crime bill passed in April by the House. (AP Photo/Jeffrey Collins)

COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) — Supporters of making South Carolina the next-to-last state in the U.S. to pass a hate crime law acknowledge they are running out of time in this year’s legislative session.

A House-passed bill was sent to the full Senate Judiciary Committee on Wednesday after Democratic senators asked their Republican colleagues on a subcommittee to hold off on their objections at least until the next step.

If the hate crimes bill doesn’t pass before the regular session ends May 13, it would stay alive at its same place in the Senate in 2022.

Religious groups say they think harsher penalties for attacking someone based on sexual orientation or gender might be used against them.

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