The Need For Hate Crime Legislation
THE WHITE HOUSE
Office of the Press Secretary
|For Immediate Release
||June 19, 2000
THE NEED FOR
HATE CRIMES LEGISLATION
"This year, America needs action. No one should be victimized
because of how they look, how they worship, or who they are. We need to work
together as partners and as a national community to fight crimes fueled by
hate. And we need strong federal hate crimes legislation."
President Bill Clinton
April 25, 2000
STATISTICS ON HATE CRIMES
- Nearly 60,000 Hate Crime Incidents Have Been Reported Since
1991. According to the FBI, there have been nearly 60,000 hate crime
incidents reported since 1991.
- Nearly 8,000 Hate Crime Incidents Were Reported In 1998. In
1998, the latest year for which FBI figures are available, nearly 8,000 hate
crime incidents were reported nearly one hate crime every hour of
every day. In 1998, there were 7,755 hate crimes incidents were
reported: 4,321 motivated by race (56%); 1,390 by religion (18%); and 1,260 by
sexual orientation (16%).
HIGHLIGHTS OF THE NEW LOCAL LAW ENFORCEMENT ENHANCEMENT ACT OF
- Intergovernmental Assistance Program. Provides technical,
forensic, prosecutorial or any other form of assistance to state and local law
enforcement officials in cases that are motivated by bias based on race, color,
religion, national origin, gender, disability, sexual orientation, or that is a
hate crime under state law.
- Federal Assistance and Training Grants. Authorizes the
Attorney General to make grants up to $100,000 to state, local, and Indian law
enforcement officials who have incurred extraordinary expenses associated with
investigating and prosecuting hate crimes. Authorizes grants to train local law
enforcement officers in identifying, investigating, prosecuting, and preventing
hate crimes, including hate crimes committed by juveniles.
- Prohibition of Hate Crimes.
- Gives the Justice Department jurisdiction over crimes of violence
involving bodily injury, if motivated because of a persons actual or
perceived race, color, religion, national origin, gender, sexual orientation,
or disability. Current law does not cover sexual orientation, gender, or
- Interstate Commerce Requirement. For crimes based on
religion, national origin, gender, sexual orientation, or disability, a
connection to interstate commerce is included for jurisdictional purposes.
- Certification Requirement. Prior to federally indicting
someone, the Justice Department must certify that: 1) there is reasonable cause
to believe that the crime was motivated by bias; and 2) the Justice Department
has consulted with state or local law enforcement officials and determined that
either a) the state does not have jurisdiction or does not intend to exercise
jurisdiction; b) the state has requested that the Justice Department assume
jurisdiction; c) the state does not object to the Justice Department assuming
jurisdiction; or d) the state has completed prosecution and the Justice
Department wants to initiate a subsequent prosecution.
- Amends the Hate Crimes Statistics Act (HCSA) to Include
Gender. Requires the FBI to collect data from states on gender-based hate
crimes in the same manner that it currently collects data for race, religion,
sexual orientation, disability, or ethnicity.
KEY POINTS ABOUT THE LEGISLATION
- It is Constitutional. In a letter dated June 13, 2000, to
Senator Kennedy, the Department of Justice has stated unequivocally that "this
statute would be constitutional under governing Supreme Court precedents."
- Maintains primary role of state and local law enforcement in
these cases. Enacting hate crimes legislation will not federalize all
violent crimes. State and local law enforcement will continue to play the
primary role in the investigation and prosecution of hate crimes. Building
productive partnerships with state and local law enforcement will be the
Department of Justices primary goal.
- Does not threaten free speech. This legislation would punish
violent acts, not beliefs or thoughts. It does not punish or prohibit in any
way name-calling, verbal abuse or expressions of bias or hatred toward any
group even if such statements amount to hate speech.
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