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Arkansas governor, lawmakers unveil hate crimes proposal

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (AP) — A new push is underway in Arkansas to end the state’s distinction as one of only three without a hate crimes law.

Arkansas’ Republican governor, attorney general, and nearly two dozen lawmakers on Wednesday unveiled legislation imposing harsher penalties for committing crimes against someone because of their race, ethnicity, sexual orientation, or other factors.

Gov. Asa Hutchinson said the measure is needed to send a strong message on behalf of the state. Arkansas, South Carolina, and Wyoming are the only three states without a hate crimes law.

Hutchinson last year announced his support for the enhanced penalties.

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