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Mooney would add hate-crime protection for homeless

February 04, 2009

ANNAPOLIS (AP) -- Sen. Alex X. Mooney, R-Frederick/Washington, is again pushing legislation to add homeless people to the list of those protected by hate crime laws.

A Senate panel is scheduled to hold a hearing on the proposal Wednesday afternoon.

Maryland law already calls for extra penalties for violent crimes against victims singled out because of race, religion, national origin or sexual orientation.

In previous years, similar measures have failed after Democrats and Republicans alike split on the addition of homeless people to the list. Some voted no because they oppose the whole concept of enhanced penalties for crimes against certain groups. Others said they thought the Republican-sponsored bill was a cynical attempt to water down hate crime laws.

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