- Associated Press - Tuesday, January 26, 2016

SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) - A proposal to add law enforcement officers as a protected class to New Mexico’s hate crimes law has cleared its first hurdle.

The bill pushed by House Republicans passed 4-3 in the House Safety and Civil Affairs Committee on Tuesday as law enforcement agencies came out to support it.

The proposal introduced by Rep. Nate Gentry, an Albuquerque Republican, is one of a number of proposed justice system reforms for this legislative session in response to a string of high-profile crimes in the Albuquerque area.

His bill comes as law enforcement advocates say outrage over officer-involved shootings and officers’ use of force has sparked anti-police rhetoric in the U.S.

Democrats say although they supported tougher penalties for violence against officers, they did not think hate crime laws applied to them.

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