Homeless hate-crime bill
The homeless would join groups afforded extra protection under Florida's hate-crimes legislation, leading to stiffer penalties for assaulting them, under a bill approved Tuesday by a Senate committee after spirited debate.
clears Senate committee
Those convicted of a felony or misdemeanor crime against a homeless person -- based on evidence that the crime was committed because of the homeless person's status -- would be sentenced based on a crime of the next highest degree. For example, a first-degree misdemeanor would be sentenced as a third-degree felony.
Republican Nancy Argenziano of Crystal River questioned the fairness of singling out attacks against one group as worse than attacks on another. "I'm against this bill for the people it excludes, not for the people it includes," said Sen. Michael Bennett of Bradenton, another Republican.
Read the Orlando Sentinel article here.