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Hate crimes

Bill would add ‘gender identity’ to hate crimes

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Legislation filed in the Florida House would add violence against an individual based on “gender or gender identity” to the state’s list of hate crimes. Rep. Joseph Geller, an Aventura Democrat, filed the bill (HB 211) Tuesday.

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Joe Gruters files ‘political’ hate crimes bill

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A House member has filed proposed legislation to add violence based on “political affiliation or beliefs” to the state’s list of hate crimes.

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Bill seeks to add police to hate crimes law

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Hate-crime protections would be extended to law-enforcement officers and other first responders under a measure reintroduced Monday by Hialeah Republican Sen. Rene Garcia.

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Two Florida lawmakers propose “Blue Lives Matter” legislation

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Following the killing of five officers and wounding of seven others at a protest in Dallas Thursday night against police shootings in Minnesota and Louisiana, two Florida House Republicans running for office this fall proposed “Blue Lives Matter” legislation on Friday that would alter the state’s definition of a hate crime to include law enforcement officers and firefighters. The proposal was announced separately by Ocala House Republican Dennis Baxley, who is running for the state Senate in District 12, and Polk City House…

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Bill Nelson says hate calls are pouring in

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Florida’s senior Sen. Bill Nelson told the U.S. Senate today that hate calls are pouring into his Orlando office today about the Pulse nightclub massacre and Nelson implored that America has got to find a way to unite. Nelson, an Orlando resident who spent most of the past two days at the Orlando command center, said it didn’t start out that way. On Sunday all the calls to his Senate office were from Orlandoans, expressing grief and shock and looking for outlets…

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Pinellas man who threatened mosque pleads guilty to hate crime

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A Pinellas man accused of threatening to firebomb a mosque last fall has pleaded guilty to a hate crime in federal court. The Justice Department reported in a news release Friday that 43-year-old Martin Alan Schnitzler of Seminole pleaded guilty to obstructing persons in the free exercise of religious beliefs. He faces up to 20 years in prison, but sentencing guidelines will likely call for a significantly lighter punishment. Schnitzler admitted in his plea that he left a voicemail for the…

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Authorities investigate threat made against mosque in St. Petersburg

in The Bay and the 'Burg/Top Headlines by

Federal authorities are investigating a threat made against a mosque in Florida. Local news agencies report a caller left a threatening phone massage to the Islamic Society of St. Petersburg Friday night, following the terrorist attacks in France. Hatem Jaber, a volunteer and teacher at the mosque, says he received a voicemail which threatened to “firebomb” the mosque and shoot people in the head. Jaber says the caller also referenced Friday’s attacks in Paris, saying, “This act in France is…

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