A state bill to up the penalties to anyone who assaults a person living on the streets has cleared one hurdle.
The House Public Safety & Emergency Preparedness Committee passed H.B. 2497 out of committee Jan. 22. The bill originally categorized such attacks as a kind of hate crime under the state's Malicious Harassment law; that categorization has been dropped. Instead, an attacker's sentence would be lengthened if "the offense was intentionally committed because the defendant perceived the victim to be homeless."
The bill has not yet been scheduled for a full House vote.