ATLANTA — Two business organizations with major political clout under the Gold Dome are asking the General Assembly to pass a hate-crimes bill when lawmakers return to the Capitol next month.

The heads of the Georgia Chamber of Commerce and Metro Atlanta Chamber issued a joint statement Wednesday praising last year’s bipartisan passage in the state House of Representatives of legislation sponsored by Georgia Rep. Chuck Efstration, R-Dacula, and urging the Georgia Senate to follow suit.

“Recent support from statewide leaders further demonstrates that momentum is growing for Georgia to join the 45 other states that already have these laws on the books,” wrote Chris Clark, president and CEO of the Georgia Chamber of Commerce, and Hala Moddelmog, president and CEO of the Metro Atlanta Chamber.

“When the Georgia General Assembly reconvenes in June, the Metro Atlanta Chamber and the Georgia Chamber urge swift passage of hate crimes legislation that aligns our state’s laws with our values.”

The statewide momentum for the hate-crimes bill the two chamber leaders cite stems from the widespread outrage following the arrests of a father and son in Glynn County earlier this month in the February shooting death of 25-year-old Ahmaud Arbery, who was jogging in their neighborhood. The Georgia Bureau of Investigation made a third arrest in the case last week.

The two chambers of commerce have helped lead the opposition in recent years to legislative attempts to pass a religious liberty bill in Georgia, arguing it would hurt Georgia’s image as a business-friendly state by fostering same-sex discrimination. Business leaders praised then-Gov. Nathan Deal for vetoing religious liberty legislation that made it through the General Assembly in 2016.

House Bill 426 cleared the House of Representatives last year 96-64, primarily supported by Democrats but with some Republican support, including Efstration and GOP cosponsors Ron Stephens of Savannah and Deborah Silcox of Sandy Springs. The bill allows additional penalties for criminal defendants if it is determined the victim was selected based on his or her “race, color, religion, national origin, sexual orientation, gender, mental disability or physical disability.”

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Vorant One

Whatever happened to EQUAL protection under the law? Any of these bone headed "business types" heard of the 14th amendment? That should be enough for any American. Quote:

Amendment XIV

Section 1.

All persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the state wherein they reside. No state shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any state deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.

Section 2.

Representatives shall be apportioned among the several states according to their respective numbers, counting the whole number of persons in each state, excluding Indians not taxed. But when the right to vote at any election for the choice of electors for President and Vice President of the United States, Representatives in Congress, the executive and judicial officers of a state, or the members of the legislature thereof, is denied to any of the male inhabitants of such state, being twenty-one years of age, and citizens of the United States, or in any way abridged, except for participation in rebellion, or other crime, the basis of representation therein shall be reduced in the proportion which the number of such male citizens shall bear to the whole number of male citizens twenty-one years of age in such state.

Section 3.

No person shall be a Senator or Representative in Congress, or elector of President and Vice President, or hold any office, civil or military, under the United States, or under any state, who, having previously taken an oath, as a member of Congress, or as an officer of the United States, or as a member of any state legislature, or as an executive or judicial officer of any state, to support the Constitution of the United States, shall have engaged in insurrection or rebellion against the same, or given aid or comfort to the enemies thereof. But Congress may by a vote of two-thirds of each House, remove such disability.

Section 4.

The validity of the public debt of the United States, authorized by law, including debts incurred for payment of pensions and bounties for services in suppressing insurrection or rebellion, shall not be questioned. But neither the United States nor any state shall assume or pay any debt or obligation incurred in aid of insurrection or rebellion against the United States, or any claim for the loss or emancipation of any slave; but all such debts, obligations and claims shall be held illegal and void.

Section 5.

The Congress shall have power to enforce, by appropriate legislation, the provisions of this article.

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