- Associated Press - Tuesday, May 17, 2016

BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) - A proposal to protect police and firefighters under Louisiana hate crime laws is headed to the governor’s desk.

With a 33-3 vote, the Senate gave final passage Tuesday to the House-backed bill.

If Gov. John Bel Edwards agrees to the bill, Louisiana would rank among the first states to include police and firefighters alongside provisions protecting race, gender, religion, nationality and sexual orientation in state hate crime statutes.

People convicted of felony hate crimes targeting police and firefighters could face an additional five years in prison and up to a $5,000 fine, under the “Blue Lives Matter” bill. Penalties could increase by $500 or up to six months in prison in misdemeanor cases.

The bill from Rep. Lance Harris, an Alexandria Republican, drew bipartisan support.

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House Bill 953: www.legis.la.gov

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