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
FBI Hate Crime Page/Data: http://www.fbi.gov/hq/cid/civilrights/hate.htm
BJS Hate Crime Data (pdf): http://www.ojp.gov/bjs/pub/pdf/hcrvp.pdfSouthern Poverty Law Center Hate Group Report http://www.splcenter.org/intel/intelreport/intrep.jsp?iid=48Matthew Shepard Foundation http://www.matthewshepard.org/site/PageServer
Brian Levin (Center Director) 1994 Testimony to Congress http://hatemonitor.csusb.edu/Research_articles/levin12.html
Brian Levin 1998 Senate Statement http://hatemonitor.csusb.edu/Research_articles/levin02.html