THE WHITE HOUSE (Office of the Press Secretary) ________________________________________________________________________ For Immediate Release June 19, 2000
THE NEED FOR HATE CRIMES LEGISLATION
"This year, America needs action. No one should be victimized because of how they look, how they worship, or who they are. We need to work together as partners and as a national community to fight crimes fueled by hate. And we need strong federal hate crimes legislation."
President Bill Clinton April 25, 2000
STATISTICS ON HATE CRIMES
HIGHLIGHTS OF THE NEW LOCAL LAW ENFORCEMENT ENHANCEMENT ACT OF 2000
--Interstate Commerce Requirement. For crimes based on religion, national origin, gender, sexual orientation, or disability, a connection to interstate commerce is included for jurisdictional purposes.
--Certification Requirement. Prior to federally indicting someone, the Justice Department must certify that: 1) there is reasonable cause to believe that the crime was motivated by bias; and 2) the Justice Department has consulted with state or local law enforcement officials and determined that either a) the state does not have jurisdiction or does not intend to exercise jurisdiction; b) the state has requested that the Justice Department assume jurisdiction; c) the state does not object to the Justice Department assuming jurisdiction; or d) the state has completed prosecution and the Justice Department wants to initiate a subsequent prosecution.
--Amends the Hate Crimes Statistics Act (HCSA) to Include Gender. Requires the FBI to collect data from states on gender-based hate crimes in the same manner that it currently collects data for race, religion, sexual orientation, disability, or ethnicity.
KEY POINTS ABOUT THE LEGISLATION
--Maintains primary role of state and local law enforcement in these cases. Enacting hate crimes legislation will not federalize all violent crimes. State and local law enforcement will continue to play the primary role in the investigation and prosecution of hate crimes. Building productive partnerships with state and local law enforcement will be the Department of Justice's primary goal.
--Does not threaten free speech. This legislation would punish violent acts, not beliefs or thoughts. It does not punish or prohibit in any way name-calling, verbal abuse or expressions of bias or hatred toward any group even if such statements amount to hate speech.