The Jabara-Heyer NO HATE Act seeks to promote better hate crimes data collection as well as a more informed approach to hate crime prevention at the federal, state, and local levels.

116th Congress: H.R. 3545; S. 2043

The Problem

Although we know that hate crimes continue to be a pervasive problem in the United States, we are far from understanding the full extent of bias-motivated crimes. Law enforcement agencies reported 7,120 hate crime incidents to the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) in 2018, including 1,634 crimes committed based on anti-LGBTQ bias. Because reporting hate crimes to the FBI is purely voluntary under federal law, the actual number of hate crimes across the country is much larger than FBI statistics indicate. Additionally, a number of other barriers often contribute to the underreporting of hate crimes, including distrust between targeted communities and law enforcement and uncertainty about law enforcement responses. According to a recent U.S. Department of Justice report, about 54% of hate crime victimizations between 2004 and 2015 were not reported to local police.

In order to truly understand the prevalence of hate crimes and acquire the data needed to inform effective prevention policies and practices, the federal government must take decisive steps to encourage accurate hate crimes data collection and reporting. This includes encouraging state policies that help local law enforcement understand how to accurately recognize, document, and report hate crimes, as well as state-level victim support systems that increase the likelihood of reporting to law enforcement agencies.

What is the Jabara-Heyer NO HATE Act?

The Jabara-Heyer NO HATE Act seeks to promote better hate crimes data collection as well as a more informed approach to hate crime prevention at the federal, state, and local levels. First, this bill provides federal grants for states and local governments transitioning to the National Incident-Based Reporting System, a more sophisticated and detailed crime reporting system that will completely replace the former federal crime reporting system by 2021. 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.

What is the Current Status of the Bill?

The Jabara-Heyer NO HATE Act was introduced in the Senate by Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-CT) on June 27, 2019. The bill was introduced in the House of Representatives by Rep. Donald Beyer (D-VA) on July 20, 2019, as the NO HATE Act of 2019.

For more information, please contact legislation@hrc.org. Read about other federal legislation pertinent to the LGBTQ community here.

Last Updated: April 10, 2020