The Human Rights Campaign Celebrates Passage of the Jabara-Heyer NO HATE Act in the U.S. House of Representatives

by Alex De Luca

Today, with a bipartisan vote, the U.S. House of Representatives passed the Jabara-Heyer NO HATE Act, which will promote better hate crimes data collection as well as a more informed approach to hate crime prevention at the federal, state, and local levels.

The Human Rights Campaign, along with a broad coalition of civil rights organizations, have pushed for the passage of the Jabara-Heyer NO HATE Act for years. The bill — named after Khalid Jabara and Heather Heyer, whose deaths were not recorded in the FBI hate crimes report — will now go to President Biden’s desk, where he is expected to sign it into law. In response, Alphonso David, President of the Human Rights Campaign, released the following statement:

"After everything our country has been through over the past year and a half — and for generations before that — it is refreshing to see Congress come together to pass the Jabara-Heyer NO HATE Act on a bipartisan basis. Hate is not an American value; equality, justice, fairness and freedom are. It’s important that our leaders are taking these steps to address hate and to gain a full, comprehensive understanding of where this problem lies in our society. Sophisticated and detailed crime reporting structures will give us the knowledge we need in order to start to solve it.”

“We are thankful to the members of Congress who have been supporters of this bill from the start, to the Biden administration for being a leader and a strong partner in pushing back against hate, and to the millions of Americans who have been vocal about their support for equity and justice for all. There is a lot of work to be done, but when this bill is signed, it will be a major step forward.”

The Jabara-Heyer NO HATE Act provides federal grants for states and local governments implementing the National Incident-Based Reporting System, a more sophisticated and detailed crime reporting system that replaces the former federal crime reporting system. This will improve the quality of hate crimes data collected by the federal government.

This legislation would also authorize federal grants for states to establish hate crime reporting hotlines designed to assist victims who might otherwise be reluctant to report hate crimes. It would also authorize funding for state and local law enforcement agencies to develop and adopt policies on identifying, investigating, and reporting hate crimes.

Finally, the Jabara-Heyer NO HATE Act would allow courts to require individuals convicted under the Matthew Shepard and James Byrd, Jr., Hate Crimes Prevention Act to participate in educational programs or community service as a condition of supervised release.

The House passed this bill as a provision of the COVID-19 Hate Crimes Act, which is aimed at stemming the alarming growth in anti-Asian and anti-Asian American hate crimes that have occurred in the United States since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic last year. The bill would assign an official in the Justice Department to prioritize and expedite review of hate crime reports related to COVID-19 and authorize more resources to deal with COVID-19-specific hate crimes.

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