Arkansas governor says state needs hate crime law

Gov. Asa Hutchinson

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (AP) — Arkansas’ governor says the state should have harsher penalties for people convicted of targeting others because of their race, ethnicity, religion, sexual orientation or gender identity. He called for the measure in the wake of two mass shootings that include one in Texas being investigated as a possible hate crime.

Gov. Asa Hutchinson told a group of sheriffs on Tuesday that he wants to end the state’s distinction as only one of four without a hate crimes law.

The Republican says he wants to build broad support for the measure before bringing it before the Legislature, which will meet next year for a session focused primarily on the state budget.

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