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Arson as hate crime bill gets House first round approval

April 15, 2002
By: Rebecca Gannon
State Capital Bureau

Burning houses of worship isn't a hate crime- yet. Representative Esther Haywood's arson bill got preliminary approval in the House Monday afternoon.

Rebecca Gannon has the story in Jefferson City.

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St. Louis Representative Haywood says she was motivated by the number of arsons to places of worship.

Her new bill makes a statement, she says - it labels arson of houses of worship a hate crime.

Actuality: Haywood
RunTime: 10
OutCue: ".. penalized to the maximum."
Contents: Describes bill

The penalty clause to the bill was amended Monday afternoon. Originally a Class A crime, putting it in the same category as murder, the amendment lowered the penalty to a Class B crime.

Under a Class B crime, a person may receive up to 10 years in prison.

Rebecca Gannon, Jefferson City.


Esther Haywood's bill got first round House approval Monday, bringing house of worship arsons one step closer to being hate crimes.

Rebecca Gannon has more.

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As of now, arson is a Class D crime. But the House voted Monday afternoon to make the arson of churches, synagogues, temples, and other houses of worship a Class B crime. Those carry up to ten years in jail.

The bill sponsor is Representative Haywood of St. Louis County.

Actuality: Haywood2
RunTime: 16
OutCue: "... too many of them burned."
Contents: Describes bill

This bill got first round approval Monday afternoon. Now it moves to final approval in the House.

Rebecca Gannon, Jefferson City.


St. Louis Representative Esther Haywood's arson bill got first round approval in the House Monday afternoon. But at least one Representative still has concerns.

Rebecca Gannon has more.

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Arson to houses of worship would be treated as a hate crime under Representative Haywood's proposed bill.

But Sedalia Representative Boatright still has concerns about the legislature.

Boatright says he thinks a list of hate crime motivations is unnecessary. After all, he says, all crimes that are committed have some wrong in them.

Actuality:Boatrig2
RunTime: 14
OutCue: "... probably."
Contents: All crimes contain some hate in them

He thinks that instead of increasing the penalty of burning a church, synagogue, or temple, Missouri should increase the penalty for arson in general.

Nonetheless, This bill making arson a hate crime passed first round approval Monday afternoon. Now it goes onto final approval in the house.

Rebecca Gannon, Jefferson City.