Legislation that attempts to toughen Connecticut's hate crimes laws has cleared the House of Representatives.
The chamber voted unanimously Tuesday in favor of the bill, which makes the commission of a hate crime a felony and increases potential penalties upon conviction. The bill now awaits action in the Senate.
Stamford Rep. William Tong, the Democratic House chairman of the General Assembly's Judiciary Committee, says lawmakers "need to send a clear and unmistakable message that we will not tolerate hate crimes in Connecticut."
The bill also makes violence and threats based on a person's gender prosecutable as a hate crime. Additionally, it makes threats against houses of worship or other religious facilities a more serious penalty.
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