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Amid Protests, ‘Blue Lives Matter’ Bill Passes Kentucky House

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A bill that would give hate crime protections to police officers and emergency responders has passed the state House of Representatives. The vote on the so-called “blue lives matter” bill drew a lengthy debate and protesters.

Rep. Attica Scott, a Democrat from Louisville, said she was worried that the legislation would disproportionally affect minorities and protestors.

“I’m concerned that HB 14 will give this kind of fearmongering a license to charge me with a hate crime for doing what my ancestors did during the civil rights movement — standing up for the diversity of our state and the most vulnerable of our communities,” Scott said.

At one point activists shouted down the proceedings and marched out, escorted by state police.

The bill adds to the state’s hate crime law offenses committed against those who are — or are perceived to be — peace officers, firefighters or emergency medical technicians.

The bill passed with a vote of 77-13 and now heads to the state Senate.

Ryland Barton is the Managing Editor for Collaboratives for Kentucky Public Radio, a group of public radio stations including WKMS, WFPL in Louisville, WEKU in Richmond and WKYU in Bowling Green. A native of Lexington, Ryland most recently served as the Capitol Reporter for Kentucky Public Radio. He has covered politics and state government for NPR member stations KWBU in Waco and KUT in Austin.
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