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Blumenthal-Moran Legislation to Improve Hate Crimes Reporting, Expand Resources for Victims Approved by the Senate

The bipartisan, bicameral Jabara-Heyer “NO HATE” Act was approved as an amendment to the hate crimes legislation currently under consideration on the Senate Floor

[WASHINGTON, D.C.] – Today the Senate approved legislation authored by U.S. Senators Richard Blumenthal (D-CT) and Jerry Moran (R-KS) to improve hate crimes reporting and expand assistance and resources for victims as an amendment to the COVID-19 Hate Crimes Act currently under consideration on the Senate Floor.

Blumenthal and Moran offered the Khalid Jabara and Heather Heyer National Opposition to Hate, Assault, and Threats to Equality Act (Jabara-Heyer NO HATE Act) as an amendment to the to the COVID-19 Hate Crimes Act also approved today by the Senate. The bill is sponsored as a standalone measure in the House of Representatives by U.S. Representatives Don Beyer (D-VA), Fred Upton (R-MI), Judy Chu (D-CA), and Vern Buchanan (R-FL).

“Better hate crime reporting is critical to stopping this scourge. Law enforcement lacks the data to implement comprehensive, meaningful solutions. Local reporting systems are woefully underutilized because of systemic problems in identifying and recording hate crimes,” Blumenthal said. “Our bill solves such problems by providing resources to states and localities for training, outreach, and reporting system improvements and by establishing new hotlines victims can directly call to report an attack. It also provides for alternative sentences that will promote community healing, reconciliation, and rehabilitation. I’m proud we were able to move forward on this critical legislation and am grateful to my partner in this effort, Senator Moran.”

“Collecting information on hate crimes across the country will help us better understand the daily threats facing racial, religious and ethnic communities in the U.S.,” said Moran. “Hate crimes are unacceptable, and it’s important that state law enforcement officials have the resources to report hate crimes to the FBI to help end the senseless and targeted violence aimed at minority communities. I appreciate my colleagues who have worked diligently to bring this to the floor and for quickly passing our legislation.”

The Jabara-Heyer NO HATE Act – approved by the Senate today as an amendment to the COVID-19 Hate Crimes Act – would help combat the recent surge in hate crimes by:

Improving Reporting of Hate Crimes: This legislation will improve reporting of hate crimes by supporting the implementation of and training for NIBRS, the latest crime reporting standard, in law enforcement agencies without it. This will allow law enforcement agencies to record and report detailed information about crimes, including hate crimes, to the FBI. In 2019, more than 86 percent of agencies that participate in reporting hate crimes to the FBI reported zero hate crimes. Helping law enforcement agencies recognize and report detailed information on hate crimes and report that data to the FBI will help establish a clear picture of the threats that vulnerable communities are facing across the country.

Encouraging Law Enforcement Prevention, Training and Education on Hate Crimes: This legislation will provide support to law enforcement agencies that establish a policy on identifying, investigating and reporting hate crimes, train officers on how to identify hate crimes, develop a system for collecting hate crimes data, establish a hate crimes unit within the agency, and engage in community relations to address hate crimes in that jurisdiction.

Establishing Hate Crime Hotlines: This legislation will provide grants for states to establish and run hate crime hotlines, to record information about hate crimes and to redirect victims and witnesses to law enforcement and local support services as needed. This will make sure that hate crimes don’t go unreported and victims get the help that they need.

Rehabilitating Perpetrators of Hate Crimes through Education and Community Service: This legislation will allow for judges to require individuals convicted under federal hate crime laws to undergo community service or education centered on the community targeted by the crime.

The legislation is endorsed by many of the nation’s leading civil rights advocacy organizations and top law enforcement groups, including:

“With each new story of hate-motivated violence that is splashed across the news, and the knowledge that countless more never make headlines, our family hurts for those who are targeted,” said the Jabara Family. “We applaud this bipartisan effort to accurately collect data in Khalid and Heather's memories. The only way we, as a country, will ever know how to begin to address hate in our society is to collect accurate data. The Jabara-Heyer NO HATE Act ensures that hate crimes are accurately reported so we can begin the hard work of stopping hate.”

“Doctors gather a full range of symptoms to make a diagnosis. Mechanics assess a vehicle before making repairs. Only as we have accurate data on hate crimes can we determine how to best allocate resources to solve the problems,” said Susan Bro, President of the Heather Heyer Foundation and mother of Heather Heyer.

“According to FBI data, there has been a disturbing rise in hate crimes throughout the United States over the past few years, including many violent incidents. The grants authorized by the NO HATE Act will play a critical role in improving hate crime reporting and connecting victims with the services they need,” said Chief Art Acevedo, President, Major Cities Chiefs Association and Chief of Police, Miami Police Department. “The bill will also provide local law enforcement agencies with important resources to enhance their ability to prevent, respond to, and investigate hate crimes. The enactment of the NO HATE Act is long overdue, and the MCCA thanks Senator Blumenthal and Representative Beyer for their continued leadership.”

“Hate is on the rise across our country, and we must act to protect our communities from violence,” said Karl A. Racine, Attorney General for the District of Columbia and President of the National Association of Attorneys General. “That’s why I chose combatting hate as my initiative as President of the National Association of Attorneys General. One of the major challenges in addressing hate is understanding the full scope of the problem because data is oftentimes limited or flawed. This bipartisan legislation would be a critical step forward as it would give state and local law enforcement the resources to understand and report hate crimes and to help prevent them. We cannot turn away from the rise of hate in our country, and this bill serves as a data-driven approach to begin addressing the problem.”

“In order to make meaningful progress toward combating violence and ensuring that communities targeted for hate have the resources they need, we must have reliable, accurate data collection,” said Wade Henderson, interim president and CEO, The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights. “We also must consider community centered restorative practices. This bill, named after hate crime victims Khalid Jabara and Heather Heyer, includes bipartisan, bicameral actions we need to improve our government’s approach to addressing hate. In honor of Khalid Jabara, Heather Heyer, and all communities targeted for hate, Congress must pass this legislation.”

“We all know the devastating impact hate has had on communities across the country—and we understand that we cannot effectively address the problem given the chronic underreporting of hate crimes,” said Maya Berry, Executive Director of the Arab American Institute. “The Khalid Jabara and Heather Heyer NO HATE Act helps put faces to the issue of data collection and reporting. Passing the Jabara/Heyer NO HATE Act will improve the response to hate crimes on the local level and help guide our national policy.”

“It is past time for improving how hate crimes are reported and handled by law enforcement at the local, state, and federal levels,” said John C. Yang, President and Executive Director of Asian Americans Advancing Justice | AAJC. “We have long supported passage of the Jabara-Heyer NO HATE Act as part of our commitment to countering hate in all its forms, and we appreciate its provisions to improve the accuracy of hate crimes data and its mandate to engage with communities who have been targeted by hate. Asian Americans Advancing Justice | AAJC calls on Congress to take immediate action to address hate crimes, including anti-Asian hate related to the COVID-19 pandemic, by passing the Jabara-Heyer NO HATE Act.”

“Hate crimes cause pain and fear, not just for the individuals targeted, but for entire communities,” said Jonathan Greenblatt, CEO of the Anti-Defamation League. “For decades, ADL has led coalitions to advocate for hate crime laws to better protect marginalized communities, but even as we continue this work we see urgent need for more complete data and a better understanding of the factors that lead to attacks—that is what the Jabara-Heyer NO HATE Act would give us. We applaud its sponsors for prioritizing this issue and urge Congress to quickly pass this critical bipartisan legislation.”

“Muslims and Jews, like many other minorities in America, have been subjected to increasing bias and violence in the past year. The Jabara-Heyer NO HATE Act is an essential step in this nation’s effort to take action against hate,” said Muslim-Jewish Advisory Council (MJAC) Co-Chair Stanley Bergman. “The Jabara-Heyer NO HATE Act will significantly improve how law enforcement responds to hate crime incidents. Combating hate crimes, safeguarding, and protecting minorities is the responsibility of all Americans.”

"Understanding the nature of the problem is often the key to identifying the solution. Right now, we don't understand the extent or details of hate in America because hate crimes are vastly under-reported. The Jabara-Heyer NO HATE Act is absolutely the right first step and now is absolutely the time,” said Julie Rayman, Senior Director of Policy and Political Affairs at the American Jewish Committee.