Rep. Wendell Gilliard says he has seen enough of homelessness in South Carolina — and he’s had enough of seeing how the homeless can be treated.
Last week, the Charleston Democrat pre-filed six bills. Five of those bills deal with the homeless, and one would make assaults on a homeless person a hate crime. The bill, H. 4344, will be referred to the House Judiciary Committee when the chamber returns to session next January.
“It’s inhumane and it’s wrong. Nobody should be preyed upon in such a way … whether its murder, whether its rape, whether it’s, believe it or not, robbery,” Gilliard told South Carolina Radio Network. ”We’ve had incidents where the homeless population has been preyed upon, we’ve had people who have been murdered.”
He said assaults on the homeless are “out of pure hate … in some cases, it’s just to be funny.”
“Here we are the greatest country in the world, and we should never allow this in a humane society,” Gilliard said. ”You are always one step away from becoming homeless.”
The lawmaker made a series of videos three years ago delving into the world of homelessness. Click here to see part one of three on Youtube.
Gilliard’s hate crime legislation would make it a misdemeanor to commit assault and battery on a person with no permanent address. There would be a two-tiered penalty. The first offense would be punished by imprisonment for less than 30 days, and subsequent offenses would be punished for less than one year.