The House of Representatives on Tuesday decisively passed the COVID-19 Hate Crimes Act, a bill that seeks to address hate crimes targeting Asian Americans.
The House approved the measure in a 364-62 vote. The legislation, which had been passed last month in the Senate by 94-1, will head to President Biden who has previously pledged to sign it.
“For more than a year, far too many Asian Americans have woken up each morning increasingly fearful for their safety and the safety of their loved ones,” Biden said in an April statement. “They have been scapegoated, harassed, and assaulted; some have even been killed. It has been over a year of living in fear for their lives, as acts of anti-Asian bias and violence have accelerated from coast to coast — an unconscionable burden our fellow Americans have been forced to bear, even as so many Asian Americans serve their communities and our nation tirelessly on the front lines of the pandemic.”
Hotels, motels, short-term rentals and most lodging facilities in Georgia will be required to pay a $5-a-night excise tax as of July 1.
Gov. Brian Kemp signed House Bill 317 into law. It imposes the fee on all lodging facilities and rooms except those that do not provide shelter and extended-stay rentals. Extended-stay rentals allow guests to occupy a room or facility for at least 30 consecutive days.
HB 317, which Kemp signed Wednesday, also requires online short-term rental companies such as Airbnb to collect hotel and motel excise taxes and pay them to local governments.
The Arizona House passed a bill Thursday that bans abortions based on diagnosis of genetic abnormality, such as Down syndrome.
S.B. 1457 states that the rights of “an unborn child at every stage of development” must be acknowledged and prohibits abortions based on the sex, race, or genetic abnormality of the child. The bill makes exceptions for medical emergencies.
“A person who knowingly” performs such an abortion “is guilty of a class 3 felony,” according to the legislation.