Friday, May 1, 2009

New Federal Hate Crime Bill Passes House of Representatives

Above are the operative criminal law sections of the Hate Crime Bill, H.R. 1913, the Local Law Enforcement Hate Crimes Prevention Act of 2009, which passed the House of Representatives by a vote of  249-175 on Wednesday, April 29, 2009.  We edited the text for length, but the full text is available at

The bill expands existing federal jurisdiction of hate crimes based on the actual or perceived race, color, religion, national origin of another and adds the categories of gender, sexual orientation, gender identity, and disability.  It also allows for small grants and assistance to local agencies, and sets forth requirements for when federal authorities can prosecute such crimes. Despite misinformation on the internet and elsewhere, it does not criminalize anything not already a crime and in no way punishes nonviolent "hate speech" which the Supreme Court, rightfully,  has basically held is constitutionally protected.

With the kind assistance of our DC partners we were able to send a support letter in favor of the legislation to all Congress members on Monday. 

House Vote Tally: How They Voted

President's Statement
Other links: Debates on hate crime law:
Other links:
Brian Levin (Center Director) 1994 Testimony to Congress

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