BERKELEY (CBS SF) – California state Sen. Nancy Skinner, D-Berkeley, is proposing a bill urging law enforcement officers to treat white supremacists as terrorists, Skinner's said office Monday.
"Racist terrorism as expressed by these white nationalist groups is not welcome in California," Skinner said in a statement. "Taking these actions, California will ensure that racist and hateful groups can be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law."
Senate Bill 630 would also expand the existing hate crime statute to strengthen protections for people acting in support or defense of protected groups. This would include activists like Heather Heyer, who was killed earlier this month when a man allegedly drove a car into a group of protestors in Charlottesville, Virginia.
"Heather Heyer's killer could not be charged with a hate crime because Heather herself does not fall within the law's definition of a protected class," Skinner said. "SB 630 addresses this ambiguity to ensure that those who commit a hate act, regardless of the status of the victim, can be prosecuted fully and appropriately."
Skinner is also introducing two resolutions, SR 55 and SJR 13, urging law enforcement to use "all legal options, including laws relating to terrorism and hate crimes," as well as anti-gang laws in cases against white nationalists and neo-Nazis suspected of committing violent or destructive acts.
Senators Jim Beall, Scott Wiener, Steve Bradford, Cathleen Galgiani, Ricardo Lara, Connie Leyva, Bill Monning and Henry Stern have signed on as co-sponsors of the bill and resolutions.
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