MD bill proposal could make offenses made against first responders a hate crime
WORCESTER COUNTY, Md. – An Eastern Shore lawmaker is working on a bill that would make law enforcement, EMS, and other first responders a protected class under Maryland’s hate crime law. Recently, Delegate Wayne Hartman announced that he would be working on this initiative to ensure all first responders throughout the state are protected. He says after seeing the incidents take place over the weekend during the unofficial H2Oi event in Ocean City, he felt something needed to be done. Hartman says if passed, certain crimes made against first responders could be treated as a hate crime, and violators could face penalties including possible imprisonment and thousands of dollars in fines.
“It’s going to become more and more challenging with what our police are facing, and whatever we can do to protect them and make it a little bit easier for them to do their job and to show there are people behind them, I think this legislation is important to do it,” said Hartman (R-District 38C).
Hartman adds that the next step is to draft this bill in order to be able to present it before the General Assembly in January, as well as gain support for the new legislation.