Last night, Representative John Conyers of Michigan re-introduced The Local Law Enforcement Hate Crimes Prevention Act of 2009, H.R. 1913. This would be the first-ever federal law to provide protections for transgender people. It is identical to the hate crimes bill passed by the House of Representatives in 2007 and includes the language that transgender advocates requested. It is also the first transgender inclusive bill to be introduced during this Session.& That's exactly why I love NCTE: all the info you need to do what you need to do.
In his comments introducing the bill, Rep. John Conyers stated, "Hate crime statistics do not speak for themselves. Behind each of the statistics is an individual or community targeted for violence for no other reason than race, religion, color, national origin, sexual orientation, gender, gender identity, or disability. Law enforcement authorities and civic leaders have learned that a failure to address the problem of bias crime can cause a seemingly isolated incident to fester into widespread tension that can damage the social fabric of the wider community. The Local Law Enforcement Hate Crimes Prevention Act of 2009 is a constructive and measured response to a problem that continues to plague our nation. These are crimes that shock and shame our national conscience. They should be subject to comprehensive federal law enforcement assistance and prosecution."
Representatives are heading home to their districts for spring recess from now until April 21st. It is vital that you call them in their district offices to urge their support for this critical piece of legislation. Those who oppose this legislation will be active during this time-we need to be as well so that members of Congress are hearing from those directly affected by this legislation. Please take this important step to help address the violence faced by transgender people.
To find your Representative, visit our webpage or go to the House of Representatives webpage at www.house.gov and enter your ZIP+4 to find your member of Congress.
WHAT THE BILL SAYS
The Local Law Enforcement Hate Crimes Prevention Act, H.R. 1913, would:
- Extend existing federal protections to include "gender identity, sexual orientation, gender and disability"
- Allow the Justice Department to assist in hate crime investigations at the local level when local law enforcement is unable or unwilling to fully address these crimes
- Mandate that the FBI begin tracking hate crimes based on actual or perceived gender identity
- Remove limitations that narrowly define hate crimes to violence committed while a person is accessing a federally protected activity, such as voting.
The Hate Crimes Prevention Act is supported by nearly 300 civil rights, education, religious, and civic organizations. The bill is also endorsed by virtually every major law enforcement organization in the country-including the International Association of Chiefs of Police, the National District Attorneys Association, the National Sheriffs Association, the Police Executive Research Forum, and thirty-one state Attorneys General.
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