A bipartisan group of lawmakers introduced legislation on Thursday to help combat the recent rise in hate crimes across the country.
The bill, called the No Hate Act, would streamline the national reporting systems used by law enforcement, train law enforcement on investigating hate crimes, create a hate crimes hotline, establish programs to rehabilitate offenders and expand assistance and resources for victims of hate crimes.
The legislation was introduced on Thursday in the House and will be introduced Monday in Senate. It is led by Sens. Richard Blumenthal, D-Conn., and Jerry Moran, R-Kan., and Reps. Don Beyer, D-Va., Fred Upton, R-Mich., Judy Chu, D-Calif., and Vern Buchanan, R-Fla.
“Hate crimes are so insidious because they’re intended to harm and terrorize an entire community, not just one person or property. We know that hate crimes are on the rise, but individual viral videos — no matter how horrifying and stomach churning — only tell part of the story," Blumenthal said in a statement. "Better reporting might sound basic, but it’s absolutely fundamental to understanding and addressing the full scope of the problem.
The bill bears the name of Khalid Jabara, an Oklahoma man of Lebanese descent shot to death by his white neighbor in 2016, and Heather Heyer, a counterprotester killed at a white-supremacist rally in Charlottesville, Virginia, in 2017.
State legislatures have also introduced or passed bills in response to the rise in hate crime incidents.
In 2019 — the most recent data — the FBI reported 7,314 hate crime incidents compared to 7,120 in 2018, a roughly 3 percent increase. However, anti-hate crime groups believe that these incidents are underreported.
A recent analysis of police department statistics revealed that the United States experienced a significant hike in anti-Asian hate crimes last year across major cities, spurred in large part by the Covid-19 pandemic.
The analysis released last month by the Center for the Study of Hate and Extremism at California State University, San Bernardino examined hate crimes in 16 of America’s largest cities. It revealed that while such crimes in 2020 decreased overall by 7 percent, those targeting Asian people rose by nearly 150 percent.
“Since the beginning of the coronavirus pandemic, Asian Americans across the nation have been terrified by the alarming surge in anti-Asian hate and violence,” said Chu. "We know that many hate crimes are never documented by local law enforcement and reported to the FBI, which is why we still do not have a complete understanding of the problem."