RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) — Punishments for rioting in North Carolina would be increased and new criminal counts created for mayhem resulting in death in legislation approved by a House committee.

The measure was pushed personally on Thursday by House Speaker Tim Moore. He cited both the destruction of property in cities linked to some demonstrations following the May 2020 death of George Floyd and the storming of the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6 as reasons for the bill.

Critics call the measure unnecessary and harsh and suggest this bill and others like it elsewhere are designed to quiet people seeking racial equity.