Thursday, May 7, 2009

Senate Version of Shepard Hate Crime Bill Proceeds

Below please find a link to the new Hate Crime Bill, SB 909, the Matthew Shepard Hate Crimes Prevention Act of 2009, introduced on Tuesday, April 28, 2009 in the United States Senate. The House approved a slightly different version on April 29 by a vote of 249-175. 
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,  in Wisconsin v. Mitchell, has basically held is constitutionally protected. See our DC partners we were able to send a support letter in favor of the legislation to all Congress members on late last month. 
Matthew Shepard Act S 909
NYT OpEd (Pro)
Judy Shepard Video via Human Rights Campaign)
Nat Hentoff  OpEd(Con)
Hate Crime Law Debate (Both Sides)
SF Hate Crime Homicide Trial (Asian)
US DOJ Reviewing PA Killing of Mexican Immigrant
Other Hate Crime Data Links
BJS Hate Crime Data (pdf):
Southern Poverty Law Center Hate Group Report
Brian Levin (Center Director) 1994 Testimony to Congress

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