Atlanta, Georgia, June 26, 2020 … ADL (the Anti-Defamation League) today celebrated Governor Brian Kemp signing into law House Bill 426 - the "Georgia Enhanced Penalties for Hate Crimes Act." The new law’s protections go into effect immediately. ADL leads the Hate Free Georgia Coalition, which played an important role in securing the passage of HB 426.
“Today, we are elated to participate in this historic moment for Georgia, which was decades in the making,” said Dr. Allison Padilla-Goodman, ADL Vice President, Southern Division. “Governor Kemp’s signing of HB 426 sends the resounding message that all Georgians’ identities are a valuable part of our State. It recognizes that Georgia will not tolerate crimes that terrorize and alienate entire communities. We are thrilled that Georgia is joining the 45 other states with hate crimes laws,” said Padilla-Goodman.
“ADL thanks the Governor, Lieutenant Governor, and House and Senate leadership for working across party lines to get the bill across the finish line,” said Padilla-Goodman. “ADL is hopeful that this spirit of bipartisanship will continue because the hate crimes law is not an end to itself, but a critical step towards addressing systemic racial injustice in Georgia. We still have a lot of work to do, and while we celebrate this gigantic step forward, we are hopeful that we will see continuous bipartisan support and movement towards addressing bias and injustice in our system,” stressed Padilla-Goodman.
HB 426 provides stronger penalties for individuals who target victims because of their actual or perceived race, color, religion, national origin, sex, sexual orientation, gender, mental disability, or physical disability. It also requires local law enforcement agencies to collect data on hate crime investigations and provide “Bias Crime Reports” to the Georgia Bureau of Investigation, which is essential for effective enforcement of the law.
The Hate Free Georgia Coalition, founded by ADL, is composed of 35 non-profit organizations. Its mission is to advocate for better hate crime laws in Georgia. For almost four decades, ADL has been a national leader in countering and responding to hate crimes, crafting a model hate crime penalty enhancement law on which the majority of the 46 state hate crime laws are based.