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Blacks, Jews, homosexuals and other groups demanding a new hate-crimes law from the Legislature agreed Tuesday to a compromise bill but vowed to return next year if prosecutors and judges don't adequately sentence those who commit crimes against them.

In the face of certain defeat in the House Judiciary committee, Rep. Frank Pignanelli, D-Salt Lake, sponsor of the original hate crime bill, agreed to a compromise proposed by House Majority Whip Byron Harward, R-Provo.Harward says his bill is broader and more likely to result in convictions of those who menace people because of their race, religion, sexual orientation or any other characteristic that a bigot may despise.

While Pignanelli's bill listed categories - like religion, race, ethnicity - into which victims could fall and be covered by a hate crime law, Harward's on the other hand strikes at the intent of the criminal. Harward's bill says that if a person commits a misdemeanor with the intent to intimidate or terrorize another person then the crime becomes a third-degree felony.

Harward gives this example: A person for whatever reason spray-paints a garage door, and that's vandalism. But under current law it is still just vandalism if a neo-Nazi spray paints a swastika on the door of a Jewish person's home. However, the painting of the swastika is done to intimidate and terrorize and under his bill would now be a third-degree felony punishable by up to five years in prison.

The normal vandalism, depending on the amount of the damage, would be a misdemeanor with a fine and a short jail sentence.

The representatives of minority groups met with Pignanelli and Harward for Tuesday's committee meeting. Most were not enthusiastic about giving up Pignanelli's original hate crimes bill - which they believe gives them more protection because it specifically lists categories of minorities and enhances hate crime penalties for all violations, misdemeanors and felonies.

But facing the political realities, they decided to support Harward's compromise, promising to be back next year if gay-bashing and other acts of bigotry are not prosecuted to the full extent of the new law.

Said Pignanelli, "If rocks are thrown out a window of a synagogue on Hitler's birthday again this year, then the prosecutors and judges better sentence the SOBs who did it to a third-degree felony or you can bet we'll be back."

While groups for and against Pignanelli's original bill were satisfied with Harward's compromise and spoke of healing old wounds Tuesday, the bitter debate over freedom of speech, increased protection for some minority groups at the expense of all and the sensitive issue of placing homosexuals as a protected class in a Utah law all left a bad taste in some lawmakers' mouths.

For example, Harward said he was still upset over a press conference called Sunday by gay and lesbian groups in which they criticized legislators for not supporting Pignanelli's bill. "That was just plain lying," he said.