This nation was founded on the promise of pluralism; a commitment to equality and opportunity; and the belief that "liberty and justice for all" is not simply an empty pledge it rests at the core of our identity as a people. No American should ever have to suffer persecution or violence because of who they are, how they look, or what they believe
House minority leader John Boehner (R-OH) [official website] said that Republicans did not support the bill because it relied on a person's subjective state of mind to determine the level of punishment. In addition to amending the definition of hate crimes, the measure creates a $5 million grant program for state and local law enforcement agencies investigating hate crimes and directs the US attorney general [official website] to give priority to multi-state and rural crimes. The bill now moves to the Senate [official website].
The House approved similar bills in April 2009 and May 2007 [JURIST reports]. The Senate also passed [JURIST report] similar legislation in the form of an amendment to the 2008 Senate Defense Reauthorization Bill [HR 1585 materials]. However, the broadened language was ultimately removed [JURIST report] during House and Senate negotiations.
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