Bipartisan, Bicameral Group of Lawmakers Announce Jabara-Heyer ‘No Hate’ Act

With hate crimes on the rise, legislation supported by Democrats and Republicans in the House and Senate would improve reporting and expand assistance for victims

FILE PHOTO: Eric Fabbro | News


Thursday, a bipartisan, bicameral group of lawmakers led by U.S. Senators Richard Blumenthal (D-CT) and Jerry Moran (R-KS) and U.S. Representatives Don Beyer (D-VA), Fred Upton (R-MI), Judy Chu (D-CA), and Vern Buchanan (R-FL) announced the Khalid Jabara and Heather Heyer National Opposition to Hate, Assault, and Threats to Equality Act (Jabara-Heyer NO HATE Act). The legislation would improve hate crimes reporting and expand assistance and resources for victims of hate crimes. The bill will be formally introduced during Thursday’s pro forma session in the House of Representatives and in the Senate on Monday.

“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. Better reporting might sound basic, but it’s absolutely fundamental to understanding and addressing the full scope of the problem,” said Blumenthal. “I’m proud of the bipartisan coalition we’ve built in Congress to advance the Jabara-Heyer NO HATE Act and grateful for the backing of so many leading advocacy and law enforcement organizations. Together, we represent communities throughout the country and viewpoints across the political spectrum, which is why I think this bill should be advanced as soon as possible.”

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“Violence is never acceptable, especially when targeted towards a specific community,” said Moran. “Hate crimes have no place in our society and this bill to improve reporting on the incidences in which they do occur is a step forward in better understanding how to address them. This legislation also provides support and training to law enforcement and, as the lead Republican on the Appropriations subcommittee with jurisdiction over the Department of Justice, I want to make certain our law enforcement have the tools they need to keep our communities safe for all Americans.”

“The rise in violent hate crimes across the country cries out for action, and Congress must respond by passing the Jabara-Heyer NO HATE Act,” said Beyer. “The Asian American community was raising the alarm about a horrifying wave of hate crimes across the country long before Atlanta. The past decade has also seen high profile murderous incidents that specifically targeted Black Americans, Latinos, Jews, Muslims, Sikhs, and many other groups. Too many of these hate crimes are never reported to the FBI, and it is more urgent than ever that Congress take action to strengthen the national response. If we do not learn from past mistakes we are likely to see them repeated.”

“More and more frequently, we are witnessing hate crimes across the United States, where individuals are targeted because of who they are. It’s wrong and horrific,” Upton said. “By improving reporting, supporting law enforcement, and creating hate crime hotlines, we can do more to end the surge of hate crimes in our nation. Hate has no place in southwest Michigan or around the country. Period.”

“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. “The horrific shootings in Georgia and the other 3,800 reported anti-Asian hate crimes and incidents over the past year have shown us that our hate crimes laws are not suited to this moment. 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. That is why I am proud to support the Jabara-Heyer NO HATE Act which will provide state and local law enforcement with the resources they need to improve hate crime tracking and reporting and protect vulnerable communities. I am so grateful to Rep. Beyer for his leadership in introducing this bipartisan bill and urge its swift passage.”

“With anti-Semitism on the rise, the United States needs to send a clear message that this odious form of hatred will not be tolerated,” said Buchanan. “However, hate crimes have often been ignored or underreported to the FBI. That’s why I support the NO HATE Act, which incentivizes local law enforcement to immediately report hate crimes to the FBI.”

The Jabara-Heyer NO HATE Act would help combat the recent surge in hate crimes by:

Improving Reporting of Hate Crimes: This legislation will improve reporting of hate crimes by supporting the implementation of and training for NIBRS, the latest crime reporting standard, in law enforcement agencies without it. This will allow law enforcement agencies to record and report detailed information about crimes, including hate crimes, to the FBI. In 2019, more than 86 percent of agencies that participate in reporting hate crimes to the FBI reported zero hate crimes. Helping law enforcement agencies recognize and report detailed information on hate crimes and report that data to the FBI will help establish a clear picture of the threats that vulnerable communities are facing across the country.

Encouraging Law Enforcement Prevention, Training and Education on Hate Crimes: This legislation will provide support to law enforcement agencies that establish a policy on identifying, investigating and reporting hate crimes, train officers on how to identify hate crimes, develop a system for collecting hate crimes data, establish a hate crimes unit within the agency, and engage in community relations to address hate crimes in that jurisdiction.

Establishing Hate Crime Hotlines: This legislation will provide grants for states to establish and run hate crime hotlines, to record information about hate crimes and to redirect victims and witnesses to law enforcement and local support services as needed. This will make sure that hate crimes don’t go unreported and victims get the help that they need.

Rehabilitating Perpetrators of Hate Crimes through Education and Community Service: This legislation will allow for judges to require individuals convicted under federal hate crime laws to undergo community service or education centered on the community targeted by the crime.

The bill is endorsed by many of the nation’s leading civil rights advocacy organizations and top law enforcement groups, including:

“With each new story of hate-motivated violence that is splashed across the news, and the knowledge that countless more never make headlines, our family hurts for those who are targeted,” said the Jabara Family. “We applaud this bipartisan effort to accurately collect data in Khalid and Heather’s memories. The only way we, as a country, will ever know how to begin to address hate in our society is to collect accurate data. The Jabara-Heyer NO HATE Act ensures that hate crimes are accurately reported so we can begin the hard work of stopping hate.”

“Doctors gather a full range of symptoms to make a diagnosis. Mechanics assess a vehicle before making repairs. Only as we have accurate data on hate crimes can we determine how to best allocate resources to solve the problems,” said Susan Bro, President of the Heather Heyer Foundation and mother of Heather Heyer.

“According to FBI data, there has been a disturbing rise in hate crimes throughout the United States over the past few years, including many violent incidents. The grants authorized by the NO HATE Act will play a critical role in improving hate crime reporting and connecting victims with the services they need,” said Chief Art Acevedo, President, Major Cities Chiefs Association and Chief of Police, Miami Police Department. “The bill will also provide local law enforcement agencies with important resources to enhance their ability to prevent, respond to, and investigate hate crimes. The enactment of the NO HATE Act is long overdue, and the MCCA thanks Senator Blumenthal and Representative Beyer for their continued leadership.”

“Hate is on the rise across our country, and we must act to protect our communities from violence,” said Karl A. Racine, Attorney General for the District of Columbia and President of the National Association of Attorneys General. “That’s why I chose combatting hate as my initiative as President of the National Association of Attorneys General. One of the major challenges in addressing hate is understanding the full scope of the problem because data is oftentimes limited or flawed. This bipartisan legislation would be a critical step forward as it would give state and local law enforcement the resources to understand and report hate crimes and to help prevent them. We cannot turn away from the rise of hate in our country, and this bill serves as a data-driven approach to begin addressing the problem.”

“In order to make meaningful progress toward combating violence and ensuring that communities targeted for hate have the resources they need, we must have reliable, accurate data collection,” said Wade Henderson, interim president and CEO, The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights. “We also must consider community centered restorative practices. This bill, named after hate crime victims Khalid Jabara and Heather Heyer, includes bipartisan, bicameral actions we need to improve our government’s approach to addressing hate. In honor of Khalid Jabara, Heather Heyer, and all communities targeted for hate, Congress must pass this legislation.”

“We all know the devastating impact hate has had on communities across the country—and we understand that we cannot effectively address the problem given the chronic underreporting of hate crimes,” said Maya Berry, Executive Director of the Arab American Institute. “The Khalid Jabara and Heather Heyer NO HATE Act helps put faces to the issue of data collection and reporting. Passing the Jabara/Heyer NO HATE Act will improve the response to hate crimes on the local level and help guide our national policy.”

“It is past time for improving how hate crimes are reported and handled by law enforcement at the local, state, and federal levels,” said John C. Yang, President and Executive Director of Asian Americans Advancing Justice | AAJC. “We have long supported passage of the Jabara-Heyer NO HATE Act as part of our commitment to countering hate in all its forms, and we appreciate its provisions to improve the accuracy of hate crimes data and its mandate to engage with communities who have been targeted by hate. Asian Americans Advancing Justice | AAJC calls on Congress to take immediate action to address hate crimes, including anti-Asian hate related to the COVID-19 pandemic, by passing the Jabara-Heyer NO HATE Act.”

“Hate crimes cause pain and fear, not just for the individuals targeted, but for entire communities,” said Jonathan Greenblatt, CEO of the Anti-Defamation League. “For decades, ADL has led coalitions to advocate for hate crime laws to better protect marginalized communities, but even as we continue this work we see urgent need for more complete data and a better understanding of the factors that lead to attacks—that is what the Jabara-Heyer NO HATE Act would give us. We applaud its sponsors for prioritizing this issue and urge Congress to quickly pass this critical bipartisan legislation.”

“Muslims and Jews, like many other minorities in America, have been subjected to increasing bias and violence in the past year. The Jabara-Heyer NO HATE Act is an essential step in this nation’s effort to take action against hate,” said Muslim-Jewish Advisory Council (MJAC) Co-Chair Stanley Bergman. “The Jabara-Heyer NO HATE Act will significantly improve how law enforcement responds to hate crime incidents. Combating hate crimes, safeguarding, and protecting minorities is the responsibility of all Americans.”

“Understanding the nature of the problem is often the key to identifying the solution. Right now, we don’t understand the extent or details of hate in America because hate crimes are vastly under-reported. The Jabara-Heyer NO HATE Act is absolutely the right first step and now is absolutely the time,” said Julie Rayman, Senior Director of Policy and Political Affairs at the American Jewish Committee.