Senate passes Asian hate crimes bill with bipartisan support

Bill to combat hate crimes against Asian Americans passes Senate with bipartisan support

"By passing this bill, we tell our law enforcement agency to prioritize anti-Asian violence, and wield the sword to detect, deter and prosecute, hate crimes of all variety".

Activists and police said anti-Asian sentiment was fed by comments from former President Donald Trump blaming the pandemic on China using terms such as "kung flu".

Anti-Asian hate crimes surged by 150% in major American cities a year ago, according to police data compiled by the Center for the Study of Hate and Extremism at California State University.

"I thank Senator Hirono for her leadership on this amendment", Collins said on the Senate floor ahead of the vote.

The bill cleared its first procedural hurdle Wednesday with overwhelming bipartisan support - 92 senators voted in favor of moving forward.

The legislation requires the Justice Department to conduct a review of hate crimes, and to provide guidance to state and local governments to enable them to establish online reporting of hate crimes and expand public education campaigns to raise awareness of such assaults. Under an agreement struck by Senate leaders at the start of the year, Republicans and Democrats pledged to at least try to debate bills and see if they could reach agreement through the legislative process.

"[The legislation] is not created to do anything to prevent or punish actual crimes". Some said it need not be the last. "Now, I urge the House to swiftly pass this legislation so President Biden can sign it into law", Hirono tweeted.

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., said the legislation shows that the chamber can work in a bipartisan fashion, and he aims to make that happen as much as possible.

Covid 19 Hate Crime G
Senate Approves Bill To Fight Hate Crimes Against Asian Americans

But unlike numerous larger, more controversial policy issues Democrats hope to tackle in their new majority, efforts to combat the rising violence against Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders have nearly universal backing.

Speaker Nancy Pelosi said the House would take and pass the Senate legislation next month.

Hirono worked with Maine Republican Sen.

"Senator Collins and I identified changes that will broaden support for the COVID-19 Hate Crimes Act while retaining the bill's core objective to combat anti-Asian hate", Hirono said in a statement after the breakthrough in talks. GOP Sen. Susan Collins of ME helped lead efforts to broaden the original scope of the bill to go beyond hate crimes initiated during the pandemic. More than 3,000 incidents have been reported to Stop AAPI Hate, a California-based reporting center for such crimes, and its partner advocacy groups, since mid-March 2020.

In January, Biden issued an executive order condemning anti-Asian hate crimes during the pandemic.

Republicans agreed to back the compromise bill after the Senate also voted on and rejected a series of GOP amendments, including efforts to prevent discrimination against Asian Americans in college admissions and reporting about restrictions on religious exercise during the pandemic.

Senator Mazie K. Hirono of Hawaii, a Democrat who sponsored the bill, praised its passage.

"Crimes motivated by bias against race, national origin, and other characteristics can not be tolerated", Collins said in a statement.

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