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Bill Would Expand Hate Crime Laws To Cover Public Safety Workers

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Josh James
/
WUKY

A state lawmaker from Louisville has introduced a bill that would make it a hate crime to target police officers, firefighters or emergency medical service workers.

Republican state Rep. Kevin Bratcher filed the legislation on Thursday. It comes after Louisiana's Democratic Gov. John Bel Edwards signed a similar law last month, making Louisiana the first state in the country to expand its hate crimes law to cover public safety workers.

Killing a police officer or firefighter is a capital offense in Kentucky. But by making targeting public safety workers a hate crime would give judges more leeway to impose tougher sentences. The state legislature will consider the bill when it convenes in January.

Kentucky state Trooper Joseph Cameron Ponder and Richmond Police Officer Daniel Ellis were shot and killed while on duty in 2015.