Miss. House passes bill protecting first responders

The House voted to triple penalties for committing violence against firefighters, police and other responders

By Emily Wagster Pettus
Associated Press

JACKSON, Miss. — The Mississippi House has voted to triple the penalties for committing violence against law enforcement officers, firefighters and emergency responders.

The 85-31 vote came Wednesday only after several black representatives talked about how they or their loved ones had been racially profiled or treated harshly by the police.

House Bill 645 is called the "Back the Badge Act of 2017."

Judiciary B Committee Chairman Andy Gipson, a Republican from Braxton, says the bill was written because "it seems many of them have a target on their back."

Democratic Rep. Chris Bell of Jackson tried unsuccessfully to amend the bill to require 10 percent pay raises for law enforcement officers and firefighters.

The Senate has passed a similar measure, Senate Bill 2469 .

The two chambers will exchange bills for more work.

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