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Hope for Homeless Measures Rises, Falls

It looked for a brief moment yesterday like Sen. Alex X. Mooney (R-Frederick) might make some progress in making Maryland the first state in the nation to include homeless people in its hate crimes law.

The Senate rejected the measure on Monday but two of Mooney's Republican colleagues were not present for the vote. So Mooney made a motion to reconsider yesterday that carried, 24 to 21.

That put the measure back on the floor for debate, and several senators spoke out forcefully against it, including Sen. Nathaniel J. McFadden (D-Baltimore), who said the state should do more for the homeless than merely adding them as a protected class to the hate crimes law.

The law currently calls for enhanced penalties for crimes motivated by the victim's race, color, national origin, religion or sexual orientation. The latter category was added by the legislature last year, over the objections of Mooney and many other Republicans.

After several other senators spoke out against the bill, the Senate voted it down -- again -- 20 to 25.

By John Wagner  |  March 29, 2006; 9:51 AM ET
Categories:  General Assembly  
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Next: Shattuck at the State House

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