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 FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:                                                          FOR MORE INFORMATION:
April 27, 2007                                                                              Chauncey Graham (850) 488-8632

HOUSE PASSES REPRESENTATIVE TAYLOR’S HATE CRIMES AGAINST HOMELESS LEGISLATION

TALLAHASSEE, FL--- The House unanimously passed HB 11 – Assault or Battery on Homeless Persons sponsored by Representative Priscilla Taylor (D-West Palm Beach) today. The bill is being sent to the Senate for consideration.
 
“Florida is considered the meanest state, leading the nation in the number of violent acts against homeless persons,” said Rep. Taylor.  “These acts are hate crimes in that they are senseless, bias-motivated, and based upon prejudice.”
 
HB 11 amends Florida hate crimes laws to include: homeless status of a victim.  Violent crimes evidencing prejudice based on the homeless status of a victim are now subject to increased penalties. 
 
Nationally, attacks against homeless men and women have reached their highest levels in years.  Florida has the highest rate of attacks against the homeless.  Florida’s incident rate is ten times the national average.  In many of the documented cases, victims were intentionally and deliberately targeted because they were homeless. 
 
“Violence against the homeless is a growing problem in our state and something has to be done to address it,” said Rep. Taylor.  “Increased penalties, I believe, will help quell the rise in homeless beatings we’ve seen over the past few years.  This is just one way we can protect some of our most vulnerable citizens.”

National Coalition for the Homeless
2201 P Street NW
Washington, DC 20037-1033
202-462-4822
info@nationalhomeless.org

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