Kentucky and Tennessee Lawmakers to Vote on Blue Lives Matter Bills
After Louisiana became the first state to pass a Blue Lives Matter bill last month, Kentucky and Tennessee will be considering similar measures. Blue Lives Matter bills make it a hate crime for anybody to target police officers. Bills like this are necessary in a time where seven officers have been shot in just the past couple of days. Law abiding citizens in America need to get together and send a message that it is not OK to attack our public servants, who put their lives on the line to protect their communities.
In Kentucky WLWT reports:
A Kentucky state lawmaker 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 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.
In Tennessee News Channel 9 reports:
Tennessee House Majority Leader Gerald McCormick (R-Chattanooga) is explaining his reasoning behind plans to file “Blue Lives Matter” legislation.
He announced that he was beginning to work on the bill two weeks ago.
It would make targeting law enforcement officers a hate crime.
He says he is tired of seeing Tennessee’s public servants get assaulted, citing a shooting at a west Tennessee trooper’s office and the killing of a Memphis police officer two weeks ago. He is hoping changing the law will change the dynamics.
“These are the people that stand in front of the criminals and protect us, and we feel like they need special protection and appreciation,” McCormick told NewsChannel 9.
The bill would put public safety workers in a protected class.
“If you hate police officers enough to pick them out and try to murder them, we’re going to single you out for extra punishment,” said McCormick.
“This kind of legislation that Louisiana has now passed and states like Tennessee are discussing to me is somewhat illogical,” said UTC professor Dr. Michelle Deardorff, who heads the Department of Political Science and Public Service.
Deardorff’s research focuses on protected classes. She says usually they are groups of people that have suffered “invidious discrimination” and possess a characteristic that doesn’t change over time, like gender or ethnicity.
“By classifying police officers under hate crimes, you’re not actually protecting police officers,” said Deardorff. “You’re making a great public statement that you disagree with Black Lives Matter.”
But McCormick says that is not his intention: the bill is just about penalizing people motivated by anti-cop thoughts.
“Right now, it’s a misdemeanor if you target a police officer and we want to make it a felony so that there’s an extra punishment if you actually target a police officer while you’re committing a crime,” said McCormick.