A bill that has been filed in the Wyoming Legislature would allow for harsher sentences for crimes motivated by bias, or what many call "hate crimes."

You can read House Bill 218 here.

It is sponsored by Representative(s) Sweeney, Barlow, Brown, Connolly, Duncan, Henderson, Newsome, Paxton, Yin and Zwonitzer and Senator(s) Furphy, Pappas, Perkins and Rothfuss. The legislation would among other things, allow for enhanced sentences for crimes in which the victim was targeted by hatred or bias.

The bill says the enhanced penalties might apply if the perpetrator:

Intentionally selects a person or property to be affected by the commission of a crime specified in paragraph (ii) of this subsection, in whole or in part because of the actual or perceived race, color, ethnicity, religion, national origin, sexual orientation, sex, gender, gender identity or expression, or physical, intellectual or developmental disability of the person affected regardless of whether the belief or perception of the person committing the crime was correct; 

The bill would also mandate that law enforcement agencies file a monthly report with the state Attorney General's office on bias-motivated crimes in their jurisdiction, and that law enforcement officers receive bias-crime training.

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