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Last week, Mississippi Governor Phil Bryant signed House Bill 645, also known as the Back the Badge Act. The law doubles the penalties on those who commit crimes against law enforcement officers, firefighters, and emergency workers.

The law is a response to the murders of officers in Dallas and Baton Rouge last year.

Bryant believes it will be a deterrent against people committing crimes against police.

Penalties were already stiffer for crimes committed against police than crimes committed against other citizens.

The law expands current state hate crime laws to include police among other protected classes such as race, religion, national origin, or gender.

Though some raised concerns that the law could be used against those protesting abuse of power by law enforcement, the measure itself says the law is should not be construed to hinder free speech.

Photo by Ryan Cummings (Flickr/cc).

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