Following recently passed legislation in Louisiana, Representative Kevin Bratcher, R-Louisville, filed House Bill 12 making it a hate crime to target police officers, firefighters, and emergency medical service personnel in Kentucky. If passed, Kentucky would become only the second state in the nation where public safety workers are considered a protected class under hate-crime law.
The objective of the bill is to ensure the protection of emergency responders by increasing the severity of the punishment for the crime. The bill was filed, originally, as a response to nine officer fatalities in Louisiana in 2015. This past September, the Kentucky State Police lost one of their own in a fatal shooting during a routine traffic stop.
“Emergency responders dedicate their lives to serve and protect, and it is our responsibility to ensure their well-being to the best of our ability,” said Rep. Bratcher. “As a former member of the United States Navy, I am able to recognize the difficulty of performing the duties of a life of a public servant and can greatly appreciate their dedication to the Commonwealth.”
HB 12 was filed yesterday and has yet to be assigned to a committee. Like Louisiana, where the legislation faced little opposition from lawmakers and easily passed through the statehouse, Rep. Bratcher is hopeful for the same in Kentucky.
“It is vital that we vocalize our gratitude for those in public protection, and with the success of this legislation, we will be more capable of safeguarding their welfare,” added Bratcher.