Senate Approves of Anti-Asian Hate Crime Legislation

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The bill would name a point person at the Justice Department who would be able to review hate-crime incidents and provide more guidance to state and local entities to help make reporting hate crimes easier.

The Senate passed a piece of legislation this week that aims to protect individuals of Asian descent and to make hate crimes easier to report amid a spike in levels of violence against Asian communities in the country.

The vote on Thursday was 94-1 in favor to approve anti-Asian hate-crimes legislation, which will expand the federal government's efforts to tackle the recent uptick in violence within that community.

The Senate vote took place after a mass shooting killed eight people, including six women of Asian descent, in the Atlanta area. The shooting sparked protests throughout the country and shed light on anti-Asian hate that exists fiercely throughout the U.S.

The bill was introduced by Democratic Senator Mazie Hirono of Hawaii and New York Congresswoman Grace Meng.

The new piece of legislation seeks to identify a point person within the Department of Justice who would be able to expedite the review of hate-crime incidents. That designated person will also provide guidance for state and local entities to make reporting hate crimes easier and more accessible, CBS News reported. The bill will also develop education campaigns to increase awareness and outreach to victims.

“By passing this bill, the Senate makes it very clear that hate and discrimination against any group have no place in America,” said Senator Chuck Schumer, Democrat of New York and the majority leader. “By passing this bill, we say to the Asian-American community that their government is paying attention to them, has heard their concerns and will respond to protect them.”

The legislation will now be moved to the House. Speaker Nancy Pelosi of California pledged on Thursday not long after the bill’s passage to put it to a vote on the House floor as early as next month.

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