New York, NY, April 29, 2009 … Calling it an "essential and necessary step forward in the national effort to counter hate crimes," the Anti-Defamation League (ADL) today hailed the approval of long delayed legislation to update and expand federal hate crimes laws by the U.S. House of Representatives, and urged the Senate to follow suit.
The measure, H.R. 1913, the Local Law Enforcement Hate Crimes Prevention Act of 2009, was approved by a vote of 249-175.
Glen S. Lewy, ADL National Chair, and Abraham H. Foxman, ADL National Director, issued the following statement:
We welcome House approval of the Local Law Enforcement Hate Crimes Prevention Act as an essential and necessary step forward in the national effort to counter hate crimes.
Hate crimes tear at the fabric of our society and fragment communities. It is crucial that mechanisms are in place for law enforcement to respond effectively when they occur, and for federal authorities to provide assistance when appropriate.
With the House vote, and the continued strong support of President Obama and Attorney General Holder, we have our best chance ever to secure enactment in this Congress. We urge the Senate to promptly follow the House in approving this bill.
For more than 10 years, ADL has led a broad coalition of civil rights, religious, educational, law enforcement and civic organizations working in support of the legislation.
The bill would permit the Justice Department to assist local hate crime prosecutions and, where appropriate, to investigate and prosecute hate crimes in which the victim is targeted because of race, religion, national origin, sexual orientation, gender, gender identity, or disability.
State and local authorities investigate and prosecute the overwhelming majority of hate crime cases. But this legislation will provide a necessary backstop – by permitting federal authorities to provide assistance in these hate crime investigations and by allowing federal prosecutions when state and local authorities are unable or unwilling to act.
Forty-five states and the District of Columbia have passed hate crime statutes, many based on model legislation drafted by ADL. The League has been a pioneer in drafting and promoting tough and effective hate crimes laws across the country. More information is available at http://www.adl.org/99hatecrime/intro.asp and www.partnersagainsthate.org.