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Published February 02, 2011, 04:10 PM

ND Senate Rebuffs Property Crime Hate Penalty

A proposal to make property damage a felony if it's motivated by racial hatred has failed in the North Dakota Senate.

By: Associated Press,

BISMARCK, N.D. (AP) — A proposal to make property damage a felony if it's motivated by racial hatred has failed in the North Dakota Senate.

The bill was introduced because of recent vandalism in Bismarck parks. Sculptures created by American Indian college students were destroyed or defaced with racist graffiti.

Edinburg Sen. Curtis Olafson says violating the proposed law would have carried a five-year prison term even if the damage was minimal. He says other vandalism penalties depend on how much damage is done.

Olafson says he believes existing state laws against vandalism can cover the problems.

Senators voted 44-2 on Wednesday to defeat the bill. On Tuesday they defeated a proposed hate-crime law that addressed crimes against people instead of property.

The bill is SB2052.

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