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Lawmakers Debate Adding Homelessness To Protected Categories

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(credit: CBS)

(credit: CBS)

DENVER (AP) - A proposal to add homeless people to Colorado’s hate crime law has cleared its first hurdle at the state Capitol.

The Senate Finance Committee approved the measure 4-3 without debate Thursday on a party-line vote, all Democrats in favor and all Republicans opposed.

The measure by Democratic Sen. Lucia Guzman of Denver would add homelessness to the protected categories under the hate crimes law. The law calls for additional fines for crimes motivated by bias against a victim’s race, color, sexual orientation or disability, among other things.

Maryland added homelessness to its hate crimes law in 2009, and similar laws have been considered but not approved in other states. Colorado’s homeless bill must clear one more Senate committee before going to the full Democrat-controlled Senate.

(© Copyright 2011 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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