JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — Jacksonville City Council wants to know how the community feels about a new push to crack down on hate crimes.


The proposed local legislation is aimed at increasing penalties for hate crimes. Councilman Jimmy Peluso is one of 6 local leaders sponsoring the legislation.

The new bill would raise fines and jail times for certain hate crimes when it’s determined they were committed with the intent of sending a hateful message to a protected group. It cites the presence of Nazi flags, like the one seen outside of a business last week, and several local incidents of anti-Semitic projections and fliers plaguing the city in recent years as the reasoning behind the bill.

Read: ‘It’s a symbol of true hatred:’ Jacksonville tire shop flies Nazi flag in Spring Park

If certain violations are committed with the primary purpose of expressing or promoting animosity, hostility or malice against a protected group, fines and jail time could be tripled.

The public meeting on the bill is scheduled to start at 3 p.m. this afternoon at City Hall.

Councilman Jimmy Peluso argues his bill is a direct response to concerns raised by his constituents after the racist Dollar General mass shooting.

At the New Town store in August, Angela Carr, Anolt “AJ” Laguerre Jr. and Jerrald Gallion were all killed. The suspect then turned the gun on himself.

Read: 4 dead, including shooter in racially motivated mass shooting at Kings Rd. Dollar General

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