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Hate-crime amendment passes through committee
by Kate Sosin, Windy City Times

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An amendment to the Illinois hate crimes statute that would add gender identity to protected classes passed out of committee March 1.

The Criminal Law Committee voted 5-3 in favor of HB 4725, which would amend the criminal code to include transgender protections. The bill also adds military and immigration status to the list of protected classes. Sexual orientation is already protected in the statute.

The Civil Rights Agenda (TCRA) announced the win in a press statement.

"HB 4725 does not create a new law, or confer special rights to a certain group of people, but rather, amends the current hate crime law to include people that are victimized at higher rates based on the perpetrator's bias," said Anthony Martinez, executive director of TCRA, in a statement."

Other LGBT bills are up for passage in the General Assembly.

In addition to the hate crimes amendment, 14th Dist. Rep. Kelly Cassidy has introduced a Family Medical Leave Act to allow same-sex spouses in Illinois to take time off work to care for a partner. That bill passed out committee Feb. 29. Cassidy is also pushing a bill that would bolster the state's current anti-bullying policy.

Both TCRA and Equality Illinois representatives are currently in Springfield in support of the legislation.

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