Hate Crimes Prevention Legislation is Right Thing to Do, Long
D.C. -- House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi today introduced a
motion to instruct conferees to the Defense Authorization bill to
accept hate crimes prevention provisions contained in the Senate
version of the bill. Below are her remarks on the House floor:
I rise to offer a motion to instruct conferees to the Defense Authorization
bill to agree to the hate crimes prevention provisions contained
in the Senate bill.
Mr. Skelton for his commitment to including the hate crimes prevention
provisions in this bill.
crimes have no place in America. All Americans have a right to feel
safe in their community, yet FBI statistics continue to demonstrate
a high level of hate crimes in our country. Federal hate crimes
prevention legislation is the right thing to do, and it is long
opponents argue that there is no need for federal hate crimes prevention
legislation because assault and murder are already crimes. However,
when individuals are targeted for violence because of their race,
sexual orientation, religion, national origin, gender, or disability,
the assailant intends to send a message to all members of that community.
That message is -- you are not welcome.
violence is visited upon people because of who they are, the color
of their skin, how they worship, or who they love, we all suffer.
When this happens to one of us, it happens to all of us.
remember, very sadly the brutal murders of James Byrd in Texas,
Matthew Shepard in Wyoming, Waqar Hasan in Texas, and Gwen Araujo
in my own state of California.
law limits federal jurisdiction to 'federally protected' activities
such as voting, and does not permit federal jurisdiction over violent
crimes motivated by bias against the victim's sexual orientation,
gender or disability.
has introduced H.R. 4204, the Local Law Enforcement Hate Crimes
Act, to expand federal jurisdiction to include hate crimes. Along
with 175 of my colleagues, I am proud to co-sponsor his bill, and
I commend Mr. Conyers for his untiring leadership and commitment
to this and so many other issues.
state and local law enforcement do not have the capacity to prosecute
hate crimes, this bill would permit federal prosecution regardless
of whether a federally protected activity is involved.
legislation would increase the ability of local, state, and federal
law enforcement agencies to solve and prevent a wide range of violent
hate crimes. Numerous law enforcement organizations, including the
International Association of Chiefs of Police, support the need
for federal hate crimes legislation
years ago, both Houses of Congress supported hate crime prevention
provisions on a bipartisan basis as part of the Defense Authorization
bill, only to see those provisions stripped by the conference committee.
We cannot let that happen again.
June, the other body adopted an amendment to include language identical
to H.R. 4204 in its version of the Defense Authorization bill on
a strong bipartisan vote.
Today, we have
the opportunity to put the House on record in favor of federal hate
crimes prevention provisions. We must not allow the provisions to
be stripped in conference again.
continue to fight for justice, hope, and freedom by ensuring that
hate crimes prevention provisions are enacted into law. That would
be a true and fitting memorial to James Byrd, Matthew Shepard, Waqar
Hasan, Gwen Araujo and so many others who have died because of ignorance
my colleagues to support this motion to instruct.