Posted on August 31, 2011

Rick Perry Signed Hate Crimes Bill in Texas

Kelly Holt, The New American, August 31, 2011

Not long after Rick Perry became Governor of Texas, according to an Associated Pressrelease on May 12, 2001 he signed the James Byrd Hate Crimes Act (HB 587) named for a black man in Jasper, Texas, who was dragged to death behind a pickup in 1998.

In a bill-signing ceremony on May 11, 2001 Perry said:

As the Governor of our diverse state, in all matters it is my desire to seek common ground for the common good. In the end, we are all Texans and we must be united as we walk together into the future. That’s why today I have signed House Bill 587 into law. Texas has always been a tough-on-crime state. With my signature today, Texas now has stronger criminal penalties against crime motivated by hate.

President Obama signed a similar law, and the Texas statute signed by Perry does effectively establish a special “protected class” status including enhanced sentencing for crimes allegedly motivated by bias against it.

Steve Baldwin longtime conservative author, campaign consultant and researcher, noted in World Net Daily (WND) on August 14, 2011:

Such a law gives harsher sentences to certain crimes based upon a person’s perceived bias to some class or group. But juries really can’t determine what’s in a person’s heart and, besides, all crime should be punished equally, regard[less] of the race, gender, sexual orientation, etc. of the victim. In other words, under hate-crimes law, if someone beats up a white person and then beats up a gay person, they receive a heavier sentence for the latter crime. This makes a travesty of the concept of equal application of the law and is likely unconstitutional.


{snip} The AP article reported that then-Governor Bush refused to sign a similar law during his tenure, rightfully claiming that all crimes are hate crimes. The article continued, “Texas already has a hate-crimes law that increases penalties if a crime is proven to be ‘motivated by bias or prejudice,’ but that law does not list specific categories of people who are protected.”