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'Hate crimes' against first responders offered in House bill

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RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) - Felony "hate crimes" for people who assault North Carolina firefighters, police officers and other medical personnel and who lure first responders to locations to attack them would be created in House legislation.

A House judiciary committee voted Wednesday for a wide-ranging measure from several Republicans that also provides tax breaks for volunteer fire and rescue workers and spouses of law enforcement killed in the line of duty.

Getting the most attention were proposed offenses for people who assault emergency responders simply because of a responder's occupation. Bill sponsor Rep. Carl Ford of China Grove says the crimes are all about protecting the lives of emergency personnel.

Democrats and Republicans raised concerns, calling the proposed crimes duplicative or unclear. The measure must go through two more committees before the House floor.

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