ANNAPOLIS, Md. (WJZ) — Bills that will strengthen Maryland’s hate crime statute and make strangulation a felony will become law without Gov. Larry Hogan’s signature.

Earlier this year, both the Senate and the House of Delegates passed Lt. Richard Collins, III’s Law, which will change the definition of the state’s hate crime law to make it so that hate doesn’t have to be the sole motivation of a hate crime.

The law will make it illegal to take certain actions against a person or group based in whole or in substantial part by that person’s race, color, religious beliefs, sexual orientation, gender, disability, national origin or homeless status.

The law, which passed through both chambers with wide bipartisan support, was named after Lt. Richard Collins, III, a 23-year-old black Bowie State University student who was fatally stabbed while visiting friends at the University of Maryland College Park in 2017.


Sean Urbanski, who is white, was found guilty of first-degree murder in Collins’ death in late 2019, but a judge dropped the hate crime charge in the case, arguing the state didn’t meet the burden of proof to find Urbanski guilty of a hate crime.

Both chambers also passed a bill that would make strangulation a first-degree felony assault instead of a second-degree assault.

The bills were included in a list of legislation Hogan will allow to become law without his signature. The governor did not indicate in a letter to House Speaker Adrienne Jones on Thursday why he was not signing the bills.

Both pieces of legislation will take effect on October 1.