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'Blue Lives Matter' Bill Headed To Full Kentucky Senate

Kentucky State Police

A bill to include police officers, firefighters, and emergency medical technicians in Kentucky’s hate crime statute is on its way to the full senate.

The measure easily passed out of the Senate State and Local Government Committee on Wednesday.

If enacted, anyone who attacks first responders could face an additional finding of a hate crime. It would give judges more discretion when it comes to denying probation and the same in parole board decisions.

Proponents spoke about first responders who were targeted for the sake of what they do for a living.

Nic Jilek with the Kentucky State Fraternal Order of Police says the bill addresses those who target those in public safety. “Not that the suspect has any personal problem with the individual, but it’s for the first responder, just purely for what they choose to do for a living,” Jilek said.

Rena Paracha with Indivisible Kentucky told committee members public safety officers should not be placed in a protective class. “Choosing what faith to follow is not optional, nor the color of your skin, your sexual orientation, your gender identity. But, your career choices are optional and with every career choice there are calculated risks,” Paracha said.

Senator Morgan McGarvey cast the lone no vote in committee. He questioned where to draw the line on hate crimes. The Louisville lawmaker asked if a marine, teacher, nurse, or social worker should be covered as well.

Stu Johnson is a reporter/producer at WEKU in Lexington, Kentucky.
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