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Tuesday, April 13, 2021

AG HEALEY CALLS ON CONGRESS TO PASS THE FEDERAL NO HATE ACT

 AG HEALEY CALLS ON CONGRESS TO PASS THE FEDERAL NO HATE ACT

Legislation Will Provide Federal Grants to Improve Hate Crimes Reporting by Offering Training on Identifying, Classifying, and Reporting Hate Crimes in the FBI Database

BOSTONMassachusetts Attorney General Maura Healey today joined a bipartisan coalition of 35 attorneys general in calling on Congress to pass the Jabara-Heyer NO HATE Act, which would provide state and local governments and law enforcement agencies with the tools and resources to understand, identify, and report hate crimes to help prevent them.

The legislation specifically aims to help rectify inaccurate and incomplete data by providing federal grants to improve hate crimes reporting. The grants would be used to provide training on identifying, classifying, and reporting hate crimes in the FBI’s national database; assist with states’ development of programs to prevent hate crimes; increase community education around hate crimes; and create state-run hate crime hotlines.

“From racist harassment, violence by white supremacists, and attacks against in most vulnerable communities, what we are seeing across the country and in our own neighborhoods is unacceptable,” AG Healey said. “This bill will help ensure that when victims come forward, information about hate crimes is collected and entered consistently and uniformly into the national system. We’re calling on Congress to urgently pass this legislation so states have the data, training and information needed to implement enhanced policies and practices to prevent and address hate crimes.”

            According to today’s letter, in 2019, most law enforcement agencies did not participate in voluntarily reporting hate crime incidents to the FBI or reported zero incidents. “Exacerbating this gap, less than 25% of law enforcement agencies are using the FBI’s current reporting system, which took effect this year,” the attorneys general wrote in today’s letter. “This lack of data creates critical gaps that inhibit our understanding of the hate problem. As the chief legal officers of our respective jurisdictions and states, improving hate crimes reporting is a priority. Without reliable statistics, the government cannot properly understand, investigate, and prosecute hate crimes or provide necessary resources to survivors.”

AG Healey has been a vocal advocate for the NO HATE Act and active in efforts to prevent and address hate crimes. In June, she joined then Boston Mayor Marty Walsh and social justice, civil rights, business and advocacy organizations to call for passage of the bill. At the state level, AG Healey has filed legislation to reform and strengthen the state’s existing hate crime statutes.

            Today’s letter was co-led by District of Columbia Attorney General Karl Racine and Kansas Attorney General Derek Schmidt and in addition to AG Healey the letter was joined by the attorneys general of Alaska, American Samoa, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Guam, Hawaii, Illinois, Iowa, Maine, Maryland, Michigan, Minnesota, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, N. Mariana Islands, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Puerto Rico, Rhode Island, Utah, Vermont, Virgin Islands, Virginia, Washington, and Wisconsin.

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