South Carolina push to be 49th state with hate crime law stalls

COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) – South Carolina remains one of only two states without a hate-crimes law, and proponents worry that efforts in the Legislature are stalling to increase penalties for crimes committed against minorities and others victimized by prejudice.

The push for a state hate crime law started in 2015 after nine African Americans were killed in a racist attack during a Bible study at Emanuel AME church in Charleston.

A bill calling for harsher penalties for hate crimes has passed the House, but will fail to become law if it doesn’t pass the Senate.

Several Republicans are blocking the bill, saying it is unnecessary since there is a federal hate crimes law.