Attacking a police officer could become a hate crime in Louisiana, if the Pelican State passes a new “Blue Lives Matter” bill.
The legislation, HB 953, would alter the state’s definition of a hate crime to include law enforcement officers and firefighters.
“We have a pretty extensive hate crime law right now, but I believe we should add firefighters and policemen,” Louisiana Rep. Lance Harris (R), who supports the bill, told the Advocate, a Louisiana-based news source.
Should the legislation be enacted, it will allow those who have been convicted of felonies against the newly protected groups to be sentenced to up to five additional years in prison.
Here is the text from the legislation, with the new language protecting police officers and firefighters in italics:
It shall be unlawful for any person to select the victim of the following 10 offenses against person and property because of actual or perceived race, age, gender, religion, color, creed, disability, sexual orientation, national origin, or ancestry of that person or the owner or occupant of that property or because of actual or perceived membership or service in, or employment with, an organization, or because of actual or perceived employment as a law enforcement officer or firefighter.
The “Blue Lives Matter” bill comes after a long string of questionable deaths involving police, the most notable being the death of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri in August 2014. Though the bill is controversial, some feel it is necessary.