Crowley Champions House Passage of Federal Hate Crimes Bill

April 30, 2009
Press Release

(Washington, D.C.) – Congressman Crowley (D-Queens, the Bronx) applauded passage of the Local Law Enforcement Hate Crimes Prevention Act (H.R. 1913) by the U.S. House of Representatives.  The Hate Crimes Prevention Act is a bipartisan bill that extends protection to additional groups of Americans victimized by hate crimes and provides new resources to state and local law enforcement agencies to prevent and prosecute hate crimes.  As a member of the Congressional Equality Caucus and a Chief Deputy Whip, Congressman Crowley worked to educate his colleagues on the importance of this bill, especially freshman members, and the bill passed the U.S. House of Representatives last night by a significant majority of 249 to 175.

“Our nation was founded on the principles of justice and freedom from persecution, and hate crimes have no place in our country.  Americans must come together to combat intolerance and hate in our community,” said Congressman Crowley.  “I had the privilege to meet with Judy Shepard earlier this week and talk with her about the devastating loss of her son, Matthew Shepard.  No mother deserves such a loss, and the Hate Crimes Prevention Act will help to prevent these heinous crimes and protect those who are the target of prejudice.”

The bipartisan Local Law Enforcement Hate Crimes Prevention Act (H.R. 1913) expands resources for state and local law enforcement to prevent and prosecute hate crimes and extends Federal protections to more Americans victimized by hate crimes.  The legislation also authorizes the Attorney General to make grants to state and local law enforcement agencies that have incurred extraordinary expenses associated with the investigation and prosecution of hate crimes.  Once enacted into law, the legislation would close the gaps in current law that currently authorizes federal aid in cases of hate crimes committed because of a person’s race, color, religion, national origin.  This bill would extend protection to Americans targeted as a result of their gender, sexual orientation, gender identity, or disability.  The bill applies to bias-motivated crimes of violence and does not impinge freedom of speech or religious expression in any way.

“I am proud to champion the Hate Crimes Prevention Act in honor of those affected by these heinous crimes across New York and the United States,” continued Congressman Crowley.  “As the son of a New York City police officer, I understand first-hand the importance of giving our local law enforcement the resources they need to prevent crime, and I fully support the funds made available by this legislation so local officers can work to prevent and prosecute these crimes to the fullest extent of the law.”

The Hate Crimes Prevention Act is supported by more than 300 organizations, including the International Association of Chiefs of Police, National Sheriffs’ Association, Police Executive Research Forum, Police Foundation, National District Attorneys Association, NAACP, Leadership Conference on Civil Rights, Anti-Defamation League, Human Rights Campaign, Paralyzed Veterans of America, Consortium for Citizens with Disabilities, American Association of People with Disabilities, People for the American Way, Presbyterian Church (USA), United Methodist Church, United Church of Christ – Justice and Witness Ministries, American Jewish Committee, American Jewish Conference, U.S. Conference of Mayors, and American Association of University Women.  The bill now goes to the U.S. Senate for consideration. 

Congressman Crowley is a six-term member of the U.S. House of Representatives and a member of Congressional Equality Caucus.