After a nearly two-hour floor debate, the Mississippi Senate passed a "Blue Lives Matter" bill Thursday by 37-13, adding targeting of law enforcement and other first responders to the state hate crimes law, reports the Clarion Ledger.

Also Thursday, a state House Committee passed its own version of a "Blue Lives Matter" bill, and while that bill doesn't make it a hate crime, it does enhance the penalty for targeting law enforcement.

Senate Bill 2469 adds language that if a crime is committed because the victim's actual or perceived job is law enforcement, firefighter, or emergency medical technician, it would be considered a hate crime just as it would if a person was targeted due to race, gender, or religion.

Senate Judiciary Chairman Sean Tindell, R-Gulfport, said a person who kills a law enforcement officer is already subject to the death penalty under state law. However, under the proposed legislation, a person convicted of aggravated assault or other crimes on a law enforcement officer would also face enhanced penalties, in many cases double the standard sentence with no early parole.

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