An update to the federal hate crime statutes originally passed by Congress in 1968 will be signed by President Obama. This update will include protections to gay, lesbian, transgender, and disabled people.
Despite this, many of the people who worked on this bill do not expect more people to be charged with hate crimes. “Are there going to be a huge number of prosecutions by the federal government, by the Justice Department, under this statue? No,” says David Stacy, a lobbyist on gay issues for the Human Right Campaign.
The majority of hate crime prosecutions have always been handled by state and local officials. People who oppose hate crime laws say the federal government should have left it that way.
The signing will mean that federal government could now help state and local officials tackle hate crimes providing them with federal investigators, forensic tools, and money.
The new law would let the Justice Department grant state and local officials up to $100,000 to cover the costs of prosecuting a hate crime. The bill includes provisions to train state and local law enforcement official about hate crimes. It also protects people with disability for the first time.
Submitted by: Michael Chernicoff