The House on Thursday sent to the governor a "blue lives matter" bill that would double the criminal penalties for those who commit crimes targeting police, fire or emergency medical first responders.
The original measure, House Bill 645, authored by Rep. Alex Monsour, R-Vicksburg, would have tripled penalties for any violent crimes against first responders.
"The Senate broadened it to say any crime against them carries double the penalty," said House Judiciary B Chairman Andy Gipson, R-Braxton. "It doubles the penalty for any crime against the people that serve us and protect us each and every day."
Senate Judiciary A Chairman Sean Tindell, R-Gulfport, authored a similar bill this session. Both measures would add law enforcement and other emergency workers to the state's hate crime laws. Republican legislative leaders Lt. Gov. Tate Reeves and House Speaker Philip Gunn both supported the measures, as did Gov. Phil Bryant, who called for passage of such a law in his State of the State address early in the session.