The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights

The Nation's Premier Civil and Human Rights Coalition

The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights  & The Leadership Conference Education Fund
The Nation's Premier Civil and Human Rights Coalition
Confronting the New Faces of Hate: Hate Crimes in America 2009. LCCR Education Fund.

Pending Federal Legislation

In those states without hate crime statutes, and in others with limited coverage, local prosecutors are not able to pursue hate crime convictions. The Local Law Enforcement Hate Crime Prevention Act (LLEHCPA) would establish a new federal criminal code provision to complement and expand existing law and to provide additional tools for the federal government to combat bias-motivated violence. The LLEHCPA is designed to eliminate gaps in federal authority to investigate and prosecute bias-motivated crimes. This bill would provide a necessary backstop to state and local law enforcement by permitting federal authorities to provide assistance in these investigations — and by allowing federal prosecutions when necessary to achieve a just result.

Over the past eight years, this legislation has been approved on several occasions by bipartisan majorities in both the Senate and House of Representatives, but has been stymied by opposition and a veto threat from the Bush administration. The legislation has attracted the support of more than 300 religious, civil rights, education, professional, and civic groups — as well as every major law enforcement organization in America.

Public support for this legislation continues to grow. According to a May 2007 Gallup Poll, 68 percent of Americans support strengthening hate crimes laws to include sexual orientation and gender identity and giving local law enforcement the tools they need to prosecute these violent acts of bigotry.65

For more information about the LLEHCPA, visit http://www.civilrights.org/hatecrimes/.

Next Section: Recommendations

65. Frank Newport, "Public Favors Expansion of Hate Crime Law to Include Sexual Orientation: Majorities of Republicans, conservatives, and frequent church attendees in favor," Gallup, May 17, 2007.

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