COLUMBIA, S.C. (WCBD) — The South Carolina House of Representatives on Wednesday passed H. 3014, the Clementa C. Pinckney Hate Crimes Act, by a vote of 84-31.
The legislation “would add penalty enhancements for violent crimes where the victim was targeted because of their race, gender, sexual orientation, nationality, or religion.”
The Act is named for Rev. Dr. Clementa C. Pinckney, a former state senator and pastor at Charleston’s Mother Emanuel AME Church, who was killed along with eight other church members when a white supremacist gunman opened fire during a 2015 bible study.
The shooter faced federal hate crime charges, but none could be brought by the state because South Carolina is one of two states without hate crimes laws.
State Rep. Wendell Gilliard (D-Charleston) said that the passing of the act “is a victory for civil rights.” He called on the State Senate to pass the act and finish the job.