MADISON (WKOW) -- A state advisory committee to the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights is continuing work begun after a mass shooting at Oak Creek's Sikh Temple, on Wisconsin's hate crime laws.
Committee members originally met with members of the Sikh community after white supremacist Wade Michael Page killed six people at the Temple in August 2012.
Committee members meeting at a Madison church Thursday heard from national experts on bigotry, scholars on hate crime enforcement, representatives of several faith groups, a district attorney, police officers, and a member of the FBI.
Legal Counsel Miriam Zeidman of the Anti-Defamation League says Wisconsin should join other states in expanding hate crime protections to members of the transgender community. Zeidman also says victims as the result of affiliation should receive hate crime protection, citing the example of violence against a child because the child's parents are lesbians.
Wisconsin Institute for Law & Liberty President Rick Esenberg says committee members must be cautious about reliance on hate crime law. Esenberg says the law's identification of qualifying victim categories is imperfect. He cites the example of a radical environmental group's crimes against a business, or a Christian group being singled out for violence over its traditional philosophy, as possible gaps in protection under current law.
Committee members will consider testimony, studies and other material as it compiles a report on the status of hate crime in Wisconsin.
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