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House votes to make homeless beatings a hate crime

The state House unanimously approved a proposal making it a hate crime to attack a homeless person simply for being homeless.

The proposal, by Rep. Priscilla Taylor, a West Palm Beach Democrat, was approved 116-0 with little discussion.

"This is a message we're sending saying it is no ok to do this crime against the homeless," Taylor said.

The state considered a similar bill last year after several attacks on the homeless received national attention. And both Broward and Miami-Dade counties have had a string of additional attacks, including one earlier this year near Fort Lauderdale where one homeless man was beaten by the same teenager twice in one day, according to the Broward Sheriff's Office.

A similar bill by Sen. Arthenia Joyner, D-Tampa, is stalled in that chamber.