The Tucson City Council has approved a new ordinance governing how people convicted of certain hate crimes are punished.
The new city ordinance addresses misdemeanor hate crimes. The state has a hate crime law that addresses felonies but Tucson Mayor Jonathan Rothschild asked city staff to draft an ordinance specifically to address misdemeanor crimes.
“We saw the need at the misdemeanor level because some of these crimes may be simple assaults, graffiti, property damage, and we want to deliver a message to our community, that that kind of behavior is not going to be tolerated,” Rothschild said.
The new ordinance carries stiff penalties: a mandatory ten days in jail for someone’s first conviction, 20 days in jail for a second offense, and 40 days in jail for a third offense. The crimes would also carry a maximum fine of $2,500.
Rothschild says the city wants to send a message and hopes the penalties will be a deterrent.