A bipartisan and bicameral group of lawmakers introduced legislation on Thursday to help combat the underreporting of hate crimes in the United States.
The Khalid Jabara and Heather Heyer National Opposition to Hate, Assaults and Threats to Equality (NO HATE) Act was introduced in the House by Representatives by Don Beyer (D-Va.), Vern Buchanan (R-Fla.), Judy Chu (D-Calif.), and Fred Upton (R-Mich.). It was introduced in the Senate by Sens. Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.) and Jerry Moran (R-Kan.).
The FBI is required by law to gather data on hate crimes annually; however, local law-enforcement agencies are not obligated to report hate crimes to the FBI. The NO HATE Act will incentivize the reporting of such crimes by making grants available to law enforcement to provide training and the creation of reporting hotlines, among other resources.
The American Jewish Committee released a statement on Thursday welcoming the introduction of the bill. The Jewish group penned a letter with more than 50 Asian-American organizations and advocated for the NO HATE Act, saying it will help law enforcement “more accurately assess and ultimately reduce bias-motivated crime.”
“Muslims and Jews, like so many other minorities in America, have been subjected to increasing bias and violence in the past year,” said MJAC co-chair Stanley Bergman. “During the COVID-19 pandemic, the nation has seen a most disturbing and significant spike in hatred against the Asian-American community in particular. All of us must take action against hate.”