Hate crimes bill approved by Georgia House

A hate crimes bill that would add penalties for those convicted of targeting certain groups has passed the Georgia House.

The bipartisan measure succeeded on a vote of 96 to 64.

If it becomes law, Georgia would join 45 other states with an official hate crimes law.

The penalties apply to those who target others because of race, color, religion, national origin, sexual orientation, gender, mental disability or physical disability.

Critics worry a hate crimes statute would not treat victims equally.

The Georgia Supreme Court struck down a 2000 hate crimes law, saying it was "unconstitutionally vague" and could be applied to every possible prejudice.