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City of Myrtle Beach passes first reading approval to establish  "Hate Intimidation" as a misdemeanor crime

MARCH 26, 2024

The Myrtle Beach City Council gave first-reading approval Tuesday to an ordinance that establishes “Hate Intimidation” as a misdemeanor crime. New Code Section 14-200 is intended to protect residents and visitors from crimes motivated by bias or hate toward anyone because of their actual or perceived race, color, creed, religion, ancestry, gender, gender identity, sexual orientation, national origin or physical or mental disability. “Hate intimidation” could be charged as a crime only if another crime under city or state law is charged. Violations would be misdemeanors, subject to a fine of up to $500 and/or 30 days in jail. The sentence upon conviction would be consecutive to any sentence for the underlying criminal offense. The court also could order restitution for damages sustained by the victim, including compensation for medical bills and property damage. A second reading of the “Hate Intimidation” ordinance is required before it can take effect. That likely will occur at the April 9 City Council meeting. South Carolina is one of only two states without a statewide hate crimes law.