New York, NY, July 21, 2009 …The Anti-Defamation League (ADL) applauded the Senate's passage of legislation that enhances the federal government's ability to address hate crimes.
The Matthew Shepard Hate Crimes Prevention Act (HCPA) provides new authority for federal officials to work in partnership with state and local law enforcement to more effectively address hate violence. The long-delayed legislation was extended further by a flurry of unnecessary and unwelcome last-ditch efforts by policy opponents to amend it.
Glen S. Lewy, ADL National Chair, and Abraham H. Foxman, ADL National Director, issued the following statement:
We applaud the Senate's approval of this important measure to address violent, bias-motivated crime. Hate crimes tear at the fabric of society and are disturbingly prevalent in America. It is crucial that mechanisms are in place for law enforcement to respond effectively when they occur.
A confluence of factors, including the economic crisis, an immigration system in disrepair, and the election of the first African-American president, have contributed to the expansion of hate groups and those looking to act out on hateful ideologies.
Now, with the support of President Barack Obama and Attorney General Eric Holder, Jr., we have our best chance ever to secure enactment of this crucial legislation.
The League also praised the leadership of the sponsors of the hate crime amendment, Sens. Patrick Leahy (D-VT), Susan Collins (R-ME), Edward Kennedy (D-MA), and Olympia Snowe (R-ME), and Sen. Carl Levin (D-MI), author of the Defense Department bill. The House of Representatives passed their version of this legislation, HR 1913, in April 2009.
HCPA was attached as an amendment to the FY 2010 Department of Defense Authorization Act. The key vote, 63-28, was on a motion to proceed -- ending the possibility of a filibuster by the bill's opponents.
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. Last month, ADL presented testimony before the Senate Judiciary Committee hearings on the HCPA.
ADL has been a pioneer in advocating for hate crimes legislation since the first ADL model hate crimes statute was drafted almost 30 years ago. Forty-five states and the District of Columbia have enacted laws based on or similar to the ADL model.