A few days after another noose was found an Anne Arundel County school campus, the Maryland House of Delegates cast a deciding vote on legislation that strengthens Maryland’s hate crime laws.
State Sen. John Astle’s hate crime legislation — Senate Bill 528 — passed with a 133-4 vote Saturday. Since the House of Delegates did not amend the bill, it will go before the governor for signature.
The bill broadens Maryland’s hate crime law to specifically include groups of people. Anne Arundel County Circuit Court Judge Paul F. Harris Jr. asked legislators to take a closer look at the law after Harris interpreted the law to require named, specific individuals as targets of hate crimes. Because of this interpretation, Harris declined to punish a man who hung a noose at Crofton Middle School in May.