In the wake of recent incidents of vandalism, the Tucson City Council is expected to vote Tuesday on an ordinance to ban hate crimes and institutional vandalism.
Currently, there’s no such type of ordinance in the city, but it’s an idea that Mayor Rothschild and many others are interested in pursuing following the recent wave of anti-Semitic attacks across the country.
Arizona has a “hate crime” statute that only applies to felonies, allowing judges to consider harsher penalties for criminals who target their victims based on their actual or perceived race, color, religion, national origin, sexual orientation, gender, or disability. However, this statute does not apply to misdemeanors such as vandalism or local ordinances.
If the ordinance passes, it would apply to misdemeanors. It would also add health care facilities to the list of places, including cemeteries, churches and schools. If it passes, the ordinance would establish certain minimum penalties, including mandatory jail time of at minimum 10 days for a first offense.