Sen. Mazie Hirono, D-Hawaii, who introduced the COVID-19 Hate Crimes Act, speaks in Washington, D.C. on April 20, 2021. (Photo/JTA-Kent Nishimura-Los Angeles Times via Getty Images)
Sen. Mazie Hirono, D-Hawaii, who introduced the COVID-19 Hate Crimes Act, speaks in Washington, D.C. on April 20, 2021. (Photo/JTA-Kent Nishimura-Los Angeles Times via Getty Images)

Senate passes legislation to improve hate crime reporting

The Senate passed a bill to help law enforcement respond to hate crimes and report them to the federal government, alongside legislation that specifically combats anti-Asian hate crimes.

As antisemitism has risen in recent years, national Jewish organizations have urged the government to improve the hate crime reporting process.

Passed Thursday by an overwhelming bipartisan margin, the No Hate Act and COVID-19 Hate Crimes Act were spurred by a rise in anti-Asian hate crimes during the pandemic, including the mass shooting in Atlanta last month that killed eight people, including six Asian women.

The No Hate Act helps local law enforcement agencies implement a system that makes reporting hate crimes easier. It also supports training for law enforcement on how to identify and respond to hate crimes, and provides funding for the establishment of hate crime reporting hotlines. It will also allow judges to mandate education and community service for people convicted of hate crimes.

The COVID-19 Hate Crimes Act designates a Justice Department official to review reports of hate crimes related to the pandemic and support law enforcement in responding to those hate crimes, according to the Washington Post. It also mandates that the government issue guidance to discourage the use of bigoted language to refer to the pandemic.

“These bills reflect the growing consensus across America that enough is enough: there is no place hate in our communities,” Jonathan Greenblatt, the CEO of the Anti-Defamation League, said in a statement praising the passage of the legislation.

Ben Sales
Ben Sales

JTA reporter

JTA

Content distributed by the Jewish Telegraphic Agency news service.