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Attorney General William Tong

04/14/2021

AG Tong Joins Bipartisan Coalition of 35 AGs Urging Congress to Pass Jabara-Heyer NO HATE Act

(Hartford, CT) – Attorney General William Tong joined a bipartisan coalition of 35 attorneys general, led by D.C. Attorney General Karl A. Racine and Kansas Attorney General Derek Schmidt, urging Congress to pass the bipartisan Jabara-Heyer NO HATE Act, which would provide state and local governments and law enforcement agencies with the tools and resources to understand, identify, and report hate crimes and, as a result, help prevent them.

“We are in the midst of a national reckoning on hate, racism, and violent extremism. As if we needed a reminder, the recent horrific attacks on Asian-Americans across the country have shown us how important it is to have the tools and means to report and identify hate crimes,” Attorney General Tong said. “I thank our federal delegation for their strong leadership in combatting hate, and particularly Senator Blumenthal who led introduction of the NO HATE Act in the Senate. We need a strong state and federal partnership to report these hate crimes so that we can investigate and bring justice to all affected communities.”

The legislation specifically aims to help rectify inaccurate and incomplete data by providing federal grants to improve hate crimes reporting. The grants would be used to train employees on identifying, classifying, and reporting hate crimes in the FBI’s national database; assist with states’ development of programs to prevent hate crimes; increase community education around hate crimes; and create state-run hate crime hotlines.

“For more than two decades, thousands of city, county, college and university, state, tribal, and federal law enforcement agencies have voluntarily submitted hate crimes data to the FBI,” wrote the attorneys general. “However, based on the FBI’s 2019 report, most law enforcement agencies did not participate or reported zero incidents. Exacerbating this gap, less than 25% of law enforcement agencies are using the FBI’s current reporting system, which took effect this year. This lack of data creates critical gaps that inhibit our understanding of the hate problem. As the chief legal officers of our respective jurisdictions and states, improving hate crimes reporting is a priority. Without reliable statistics, the government cannot properly understand, investigate, and prosecute hate crimes or provide necessary resources to survivors.”

As president of the National Association of Attorneys General, AG Racine launched a yearlong initiative in December 2020 called the People v. Hate. The initiative aims to raise awareness of hate and bias, prevent hate from taking root in our communities, support residents who have experienced hate, and develop and share best practices on improving hate crime data.

Attorneys General Tong, Racine and Schmidt were joined by the attorneys general of Alaska, American Samoa, California, Colorado, Delaware, Guam, Hawaii, Illinois, Iowa, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, N. Mariana Islands, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Puerto Rico, Rhode Island, Utah, Vermont, Virgin Islands, Virginia, Washington, and Wisconsin.

A copy of the coalition’s letter to Congress is available here.
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