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 TIME on politics Congressional Quarterly CNN/AllPolitics CNN/AllPolitics - Storypage, with TIME and Congressional Quarterly

Hate crimes legislation introduced in Congress

March 12, 1999
Web posted at: 7:24 p.m. EST (0024 GMT)

WASHINGTON (AllPolitics, March 12) -- The House and Senate are taking up identical hate crimes legislation designed to help state and local police battle racial, religious and ethnic violence, as well as violence motivated by disability, sexual orientation or gender.


The Hate Crimes Prevention Act of 1999 was introduced in the House Thursday night with 118 co-sponsors. The Senate introduction is expected Monday, with 31 co-sponsors already signed on. A similar measure in the previous Congress drew a total of more than 200 co-sponsors.

Vice President Al Gore issued a statement Thursday about hate crime that "it is wrong, it is illegal, and we will catch you."

Deputy Attorney General Eric Holder told CNN the Justice Department recently found itself hard pressed to lend financial support to Texas authorities investigating the case of James Byrd, a black man who was dragged to death behind a pickup truck.

"Present law is an anachronism that shackles federal prosecutors," Holder said, explaining that federal help is limited to hate crimes taking place within certain activities.

Holder rejected criticism that expanding the federal arm of the law would "overfederalize." He said the government would help in no more than 20-25 extraordinary cases each year.

A bipartisan letter asking senators and representatives to co-sponsor was signed by Sens. Ted Kennedy (D-Massachusetts), Ron Wyden (D-Oregon), Charles Schumer (D-New York), Arlen Specter (R-Pennsylvania) and Gordon Smith (R-Oregon), and Reps. John Conyers (D-Michigan), Michael Forbes (R-New York) and House Minority Leader Dick Gephardt (D-Missouri.)

The letter cited support from the Clinton administration and more than 80 civil rights groups and law enforcement organizations.


God told suspect in gay killing to confess, deputies say (3-5-99)

Dragging death victim's daughter backs Texas hate crime bill (3-5-99)

Reno renews plea for hate crimes bill in wake of Wyoming murder (10-18-99)


The Hate Crimes Prevention Act Web site

Hate Crimes Prevention Center Web site


Friday, March 12, 1999

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