BEAUFORT, S.C. (March 15, 2023) – At its Regular Meeting on March 14, Beaufort City Council approved a resolution to support the passage of H. 3014, Clementa C. Pinckney Hate Crimes Act. This legislation was approved by the South Carolina House on March 8 and has been referred to the South Carolina Senate Judiciary Committee.
The legislation is named after the late State Sen. Pinckney, who was killed in June 2015 by an avowed white supremacist. At the time, Sen. Pinckney was leading a Bible study at the church he pastored, Mother Emanuel A.M.E. Church in Charleston. Eight other members of the church were also slain by the gunman.
Pinckney was born in Beaufort, and represented parts of it during his legislative career.
The hate crimes legislation would add enhance penalties for violent crimes where the victim was targeted because of their race, gender, sexual orientation, religion, or nationality.
South Carolina and Wyoming are the only states without a hate crime law on the books.
“We urge the State Senate to act quickly on this bill, and make it the law,” said Mayor Stephen Murray. “It’s past time for South Carolina to stand up against hate crimes, and for the safety and welfare of its residents and businesses.”