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Strengthening Federal Hate Crime Law

By Charlotte Robinson, January 29, 2020
U.S. Senator Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) & U.S. Senator Lisa Murkowski (R-AK) have introduced legislation to combat the rise of hate crimes. According to the FBI attacks motivated by bias or prejudice reached a 16-year high in 2018. The Justice for Victims of Hate Crimes Act ensures that federal prosecutors can effectively enforce the federal hate crimes law. Vanita Gupta, President & CEO of The Leadership Conference on Civil & Human Rights stated, “This bill will strengthen the enforcement of the Matthew Shepard & James Byrd Hate Crimes Prevention Act, helping to protect communities across the country from systemic, pervasive hate violence. The current split in interpretation of the motive requirement is detrimental to enforcement and prevents prosecutors from seeking full justice for victims. All people deserve to live free from hate violence — no matter the individual's race, color, religion, sexual orientation, or national origin. We applaud Senators Klobuchar & Murkowski for introducing the Justice for Victims of Hate Crimes Act and urge its speedy passage in the Senate.” Senator Murkowski concluded, “Prejudice against groups & individuals because of their sexual orientation, religion, race, or other characteristics has been part of our history. While we have made great progress in protecting our fellow Americans from acts of hatred & bias—discrimination, violence, & stereotyping still continue. It must be put to a stop. America is a melting pot & our differences should be celebrated, not treated with prejudice. I’m proud to join Senator Klobuchar in this effort to empower federal law enforcement by providing the legal certainty they need to bring the perpetrators of hate crimes to justice.”
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