“Wearing a MAGA hat should never endanger your life,” Democrat Georgia State Rep. Vernon Jones said Tuesday, announcing that will introduce a bill next week making it a “hate crime” to assault someone based on that person’s actual or perceived political party – even if that person supports Pres. Donald Trump.
“Let’s call this what it is: a hate crime,” Rep. Jones tweeted, noting that he’s seen “countless” examples of attacks on Trump supporters:
“I’ve watched countless videos of Trump supporters getting attacked in the streets simply due to their support of @realDonaldTrump. Let’s call this what this is: a hate crime. And as we return to the legislature next week, I’ll be introducing legislation that’ll make it such.”
Rep. Jones briefly announced plans to resign in April due to backlash from his cross-party endorsement of Republican Pres. Trump. But, after an outpouring of support from Americans of every party and walk of life, Jones decided not to resign.
Assaulting someone wearing a MAGA hate, or any politically-motivated attack, will be defined as a “hate crime” by his bill, Jones tweeted:
“Political affiliation should be a protected class, right alongside race, gender, and religion, and my legislation will do just that. Making any politically motivated attack a HATE CRIME. Wearing a MAGA hat should never endanger your life.”
An announcement on the Georgia House website explains that “The Jones Amendment will be modeled after legislation that Rep. Jones previously introduced, House Bill 1120, before the 2020 legislative session was suspended due to COVID-19.”
According to Georgia House Bill 1120, a defendant is subject to addition “hate crime” punishment if he or she “intentionally selected any victim or group of victims or any property as the object of the offense because of the actual or perceived political beliefs or political associations of such victim or group of victims”:
(a) Subject to the notice requirement provided in Code Section 17-10-18 and in enhancement of the penalty imposed pursuant thereto, if the trier of fact determines beyond a reasonable doubt that the defendant intentionally selected any victim or group of victims or any property as the object of the offense because of the actual or perceived political beliefs or political associations of such victim or group of victims, the judge imposing sentence shall:
(1) If the offense for which the defendant was convicted is a misdemeanor, impose a sentence of imprisonment for a period of not less than three nor more than 12 months and a fine not to exceed $10,000,
(2) If the offense for which the defendant was convicted is a misdemeanor of a high and aggravated nature, impose a sentence of imprisonment for a period of not less than six nor more than 12 months and a fine not to exceed $5,000.00; or
(3) If the offense for which the defendant was convicted is a felony, impose a sentence of imprisonment for a period of not less than two years.
(b) The judge shall state when he or she imposes the sentence the amount of the increase of the sentence based upon the application of subsection (a) of this Code section.
(c) It shall be an affirmative defense to an enhancement of penalty under this Code section if the underlying offense for which an individual was convicted was solely the result of a sudden, violent, and irresistible passion resulting from serious provocation sufficient to excite such passion in a reasonable person.
Yesterday, I announced my intentions to resign from my office. But shortly thereafter, the outpour of support I received was too great for me to ignore.— Vernon Jones (@RepVernonJones) April 23, 2020
I will not allow the Democrats to bully me into submission. I will not let them win.
I will NOT resign. #MAGA pic.twitter.com/gR2MsU5Rb3