New Hampshire's hate crime statutes will stay on the books. By an overwhelming vote of 298-48, lawmakers killed House Bill 136, which would have repealed the state's hate crimes statute, reports the Foster’s Daily Democrat of Dover. The law, which can impose longer jail terms for crimes “motivated by hostility toward the victim's religion, race, creed, sexual orientation, national origin, or sex,” came about through nearly unanimous support in the Legislature nearly 15 years ago.
Supporters of the repeal rejected the notion they are “racists” looking to turn back the clock. The bill's sponsor, Rep. Elbert Bicknell, said, “Murder is murder is murder no matter who committed it or why they committed it. To create an enhanced penalty for mere words is wrong. That is political correctness run amok.” But an opponent, Rep. John DeJoie, said, “We must send a clear message to the state and the nation that New Hampshire does not condone hate-motivated crime.”