Hate crimes
Hate crimes are acts or threats of violence based on the actual or perceived race, color, national origin, religion, sexual orientation, gender or disability of those targeted. Hate crimes have been said to be acts of domestic terrorism because often, the perpetrator’s intention is to intimidate and terrorize all members of a group. Human rights advocates say the problem is sufficiently serious and widespread as to warrant federal assistance to local law enforcement agencies. Critics of hate crime laws claim they are unconstitutional because they criminalize a defendant’s thought process. However, our Supreme Court has upheld the constitutionality of these laws. In 2012, law enforcement agencies reported 6,000 victims of hate crime incidents. Nearly half of these incidents were related to race bias. Sexual orientation and religious bias accounted for about 20% each, and bias against ethnicity or national origin accounted for about 10%. The number of hate crimes against perceived Muslims increased to nearly 160 in 2010 and 2011, after decreasing in the years following 9/11. Jewish people and institutions were targeted by nearly 65% of all religious-based hate crime in 2011. Civil rights advocates claim the vast majority of hate crimes are never reported and many others are mischaracterized as non-hate crimes by law enforcement.

Pending Legislation:
H.R.41 - David Ray Hate Crimes Prevention Act of 2015

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Poll Opening Date
May 21, 2020
Poll Closing Date
May 27, 2020

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