LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- Community leaders are speaking out against a proposed bill that would crack down on gang activity.

House Bill 169 aims to tackle gang-related violence in Kentucky, but some say it encourages racial profiling in the criminal justice system.

On Wednesday morning, several local groups gathered to speak out against the bill in west Louisville, including the Urban League and the ACLU.

House Bill 169 would crack down on gang activity and gang recruitment by adding stiffer penalties and increasing prison time for those convicted of gang-related crimes. The bill would also change how gangs and gang activity are defined and identified under the law.

Critics say the bill unfairly targets people of color, and doesn’t provide any support for programs or services that might keep a young person from turning to a gang in the first place.

“This is unethical, this is ungodly to say the least to utilize legislation to target the most vulnerable in our communities,” said Rev. David L. Snardon from the
Interdenominational Ministerial Coalition.

“Every single dollar we spend unnecessarily incarcerating people is a dollar we divert away from programs like education and public services, and this bill alone has a $19 million price tag attached to it,” said Michael Aldridge of ACLU of Kentucky.

House Bill 169 has passed the House and has moved on to the Senate.

It could be taken up for a vote in the final days of the legislative session later this week.

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