Arkansas’s effort to enact hate crimes law in jeopardy

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. — An effort to enact a hate crimes law in Arkansas is in jeopardy, despite a push by Gov. Asa Hutchinson and major corporations.

The leader of the state Senate has predicted the measure proposed for the session that begins Monday won’t pass, and conservatives are working hard in the majority-GOP Legislature to defeat the bill.

If passed, a person would be charged with additional penalties for an offense that was committed due to someone’s attributes, which includes race, color, religion, gender identity or sexual orientation.

The obstacles threaten what supporters calls Arkansas’ best chance in years to end its distinction as one of a handful of states without a hate crimes law. 

Georgia in June became the latest to enact a bill, leaving Arkansas, South Carolina and Wyoming as the remaining outliers.