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Record No: CB 119288    Version: Council Bill No: CB 119288
Type: Council Bill (CB) Status: Held
Current Controlling Legislative Body Civil Rights, Utilities, Economic Development, and Arts Committee
On agenda: 9/9/2019
Ordinance No:
Title: AN ORDINANCE relating to the City's criminal code; removing the separate crime of malicious harassment and creating a special allegation of hate crime motivation; and amending Section 12A.06.115 of the Seattle Municipal Code.
Sponsors: Lisa Herbold
Supporting documents: 1. Summary and Fiscal Note, 2. Proposed Amendments, 3. Central Staff Memo (added 5/14/19)
CITY OF SEATTLE
ORDINANCE __________________
COUNCIL BILL __________________
title
AN ORDINANCE relating to the City's criminal code; removing the separate crime of malicious harassment and creating a special allegation of hate crime motivation; and amending Section 12A.06.115 of the Seattle Municipal Code.
body
WHEREAS, hate crimes in Washington state are currently prosecuted as "malicious harassment" in both felony and misdemeanor forms; and
WHEREAS, Seattle's misdemeanor malicious harassment law is limited to covering crimes based on the protected classes of homelessness, marital status, political ideology, age, or parental status; and
WHEREAS, the state felony malicious harassment law covers the protected classes of race, color, religion, ancestry, national origin, gender, sexual orientation, mental handicap, physical handicap, and sensory handicap; and
WHEREAS, the Seattle City Auditor released a report on May 9, 2019, finding that reports of hate crimes have risen by almost 400 percent since 2012; and
WHEREAS, the City Auditor's report indicated that reports of crimes of malicious harassment increased 346 percent since 2012; and
WHEREAS, the City Auditor's report found that reports of crime with bias elements increased 378 percent since 2012 and reports of non-criminal bias incidents increased 448 percent since 2012; and
WHEREAS, in the 2019 legislative session the Washington Legislature enacted Engrossed Substitute House Bill 1732, which changed the name of the felony malicious harassment offense to "hate crime offense" and clarified terms for people with disabilities and for gender identity; and
WHEREAS, creating a misdemeanor special allegation for hate crimes in Seattle would allow for hate and bias crimes that are prosecuted as misdemeanors to be designated and identified as hate crimes; and
WHEREAS, removing malice from the elements to be proven in the special allegation allows prosecution of hate or bias crimes at the misdemeanor level for prote...

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