Kami Rieck| Boston University Statehouse Program
BOSTON A sharp increase in incidents of hate, particularly directed at Asian Americans, has prompted lawmakers to file legislation to strengthen the states hate crime statute, provide better training to recognize bias and redefine penalties for breaking the law.
State Rep. Tram Nguyen, D-Andover, and state Sen. Adam Hinds, D-Pittsfield, recently joined forces with Attorney General Maura Healey in an effort to protect women and immigrants as targets of hate crimes; escalate penalties for repeat offenders; combine civil rights and hate crimes statutes into one section of the law; allow for harsher sentencing for severe offenses without creating mandatory minimums; and create clearer definitions of hate crimes.
Not only do we want more clarity on the law to specify exactly what hate crimes are so that they could be applied more fairly and accurately, but they're also providing officers with additional training to recognize what bias-motivated crimes are, Nguyen said.
The current hate crime law in Massachusetts is defined as one committed because of a persons race, color, religion, national origin, sexual orientation, gender identity or disability.
Hinds said the rise in hate crimes against the African American, Asian American, LGBTQ+ and Jewish communities made clear the need to propose changes to the current law.
The urgency of taking a stand against violent bigotry has just felt more and more poignant in the past several years, Hinds said. So moving this quickly feels important.
The rise in anti-Asian hate crimes has risen in the past year of the COVID-19 pandemic. The national organization Stop AAPI Hate received 67 reports from Massachusetts of anti-Asian discrimination 3,800 incidents nationwide from March 19 through Dec. 31 of last year, according to data.
In 2019, the Anti-Defamation League reported 2,107 hate crimes against Jewish people nationwide. Thatwas the highest number of hate crimes the ADL has tracked in its history. November 2020 federal data show crimes based on sexual orientation represent 16.7% of hate crimes, according to the Human Rights Campaign. In 2020, Black people were targeted in hate crimes more than any other group in the U.S., according to an FBI report.
Support for the changes is not universal.
State Rep. Peter Durant, R-Spencer, said the bill violates the First Amendment and allows for a subjective way of defining assault.
I think any time that we tinker with First Amendment protections or any protections afforded us under the Constitution, we have to be very careful, he said. This bill, while it does some good things in the form of increasing penalties for certain crimes, I think it takes a very precarious step towardlimiting your First Amendment rights.
Nguyen made clear that hate speech is not protected by the First Amendment.
Janhavi Madabushi, director of the Massachusetts Bail Fund, said prosecuting violence more stringently does not uproot racism or prevent violence.
Legislators should not bring forth bills that expand prosecuting powers and criminal charges if they want to combat racism, Madabushi wrote in an email. This is harm that ultimately vulnerable communities will be tasked with undoing.
There needs to be systemic solutions to address violence in all of its forms, said Carolyn Chou, executive director of the Asian American Resource Workshop. Increasing penalties could have unintended consequences that would harm communities of color, she said.
"More law enforcement has been shown, time and time again, to not prevent violence, but rather to add additional layers of violence and harm," Chou wrote in an email. We need to emphasize community response and support, deep dialogue between oppressed communities and transformative justice, as well as broader solutions like language access, data equity and ethnic studies."
Hinds said the new bill would do that by improvinglaws currently in place and giving discretion to judges to sentence accordingly and appropriately. The legislation will improve entire communities by addressing violence, he said.
We're also clarifying that we're not talking about First Amendment-protected expressions of hate, Hinds said. But instead being clear that we're prohibiting violent, threatening and destructive conduct.
State Rep. Tackey Chan, D-Quincy, supports the proposed changes because he believes the current law is vague and leaves too much interpretation as to whetheran attack is a hate crime. Many minorities and immigrants make up Quincy, and Chan said underreporting of hate crimes shows a clear need to clean up the statute.
I think it's a good first step in this conversation on hate crimes," Chan said. "I like to think of myself as an understanding person trying to learn, but there are certain things that are like, let's call like it is. I mean, if you target people to kill people because of what they look like or who they are.
The bill has been assigned to the Legislatures Judiciary Committee for a public hearing and review. Thirty House lawmakers and eight senators signed in support of the bill.
On April 22, the U.S. Senate passed a hate crime bill in response to the recent rise of anti-Asian discrimination. The bill, sponsored by Sen. Mazie Hirono, D-Hawaii, would expedite the Department of Justices review of COVID-19 hate crimes.
The bill also requires the DOJ to issue guidance for state and local law enforcement agencies on how to establish online hate crime reporting processes in multiple languages and how to expand culturally competent education campaigns.
For Nguyen, passing the new hate crimes law ensures that bias-motivated crimes are prosecuted and allows prosecutors and the judiciary to have clear guidance to look into motivating factors.
She also acknowledged that creating a new hate crime statute is only one part of addressing these pressing issues.
The bill is not meant to address the hate and violence, Nguyen said. To confront the root of human violence, she said there also needs to be racially and culturally inclusive education, despoliation of prejudices and biases people have, more resources for victims of hate crimes and new police and bystander intervention training.
This bill is looking to hold perpetrators who caused harm to communities accountable and to make sure that we are calling the hate crimes out so that we are signaling to communities that they matter, she said.
Originally posted here:
Sharp increase in hate crimes has Mass. legislators looking to tighten laws - Milford Daily News
- Apparently David Chipman Isnt Crazy About the First Amendment, Either - National Review - July 29th, 2021
- Pam Bondi: If you care about the First Amendment, this class action is for you - Must Read Alaska - July 29th, 2021
- In Their Own Words: Lust Debates Mickelson On The Roll Of Political Money, The First Amendment - SDPB Radio - July 29th, 2021
- Opinion: Lawsuits on banning critical race theory are coming. Here's what won't work, and what could. - Des Moines Register - July 29th, 2021
- Rubio Welcomes Senate Select Committee on Intelligence Passage of the FY22 Intelligence Authorization Act - Senator Marco Rubio - July 29th, 2021
- Scabby the Rat May Live, Says the NLRB | Arent Fox - JDSupra - JD Supra - July 29th, 2021
- Senator Amy Klobuchar seeks to quell health misinformation on social media - Brookings Institution - July 29th, 2021
- Supreme Court Will Hear Institute for Justice and Ed Choice Case Seeking More Educational Options for Maine Families and Children - Philanthropy... - July 29th, 2021
- Songs Celebrating the Five Freedoms of the First Amendment - WDET - July 10th, 2021
- Ask Civics 101: Do The States Need Congress's Permission To Hold A Constitutional Convention? - New Hampshire Public Radio - July 10th, 2021
- Jolie and Pitt's lawyers face off over her bid to dump their private judge in divorce case - USA TODAY - July 10th, 2021
- First Amendment is not 'bonkers' - Mount Olive Tribune - July 7th, 2021
- 7 Supreme Court cases that have shaped American elections - The Fulcrum - July 7th, 2021
- No, Iowa's 'Back the Blue Act' does not criminalize wearing the image of the U.S. flag on towels or swimsuits - UI The Daily Iowan - July 7th, 2021
- Floridas ban on bans will test First Amendment rights of social media companies - TechCrunch - May 24th, 2021
- Prince Harry's First Amendment Aversion Is Funny; the Governments That Agree Are Scary - Reason - May 24th, 2021
- Face Masks and the First Amendment - The Wall Street Journal - May 24th, 2021
- First Amendment Confusion | Opinion | Northern Express - northernexpress.com - May 24th, 2021
- The First Amendment and Mask Mandates Reason.com - Reason - May 24th, 2021
- OPINION: Prince Harry, allow me to explain the First Amendment - The Richmond Observer - May 24th, 2021
- Wicker, Hyde-Smith Cosponsor the 'Don't Weaponize the IRS Act' - Senator Roger Wicker - May 24th, 2021
- Opinion: 'Ohio will never bow to totalitarian pressures' - The Columbus Dispatch - May 24th, 2021
- If Courts Cant Agree on Who an Appropriate Person, Is for Notice of Sexual Harassment Under Title IX, How Can We Expect a Student in Crisis to Do So?... - May 24th, 2021
- Franklin Graham Can't Handle Prince Harry's Criticism of the First Amendment - Friendly Atheist - Patheos - May 24th, 2021
- Tillis, Colleagues Introduce 'Don't Weaponize the IRS Act' - Thom Tillis - May 24th, 2021
- Washington: Second Amendment Banned in First Amendment Spaces After the Signing of Anti-Gun Measure - NRA ILA - May 16th, 2021
- Citing First Amendment, 4th Circuit reverses conviction for retired Air Force officer's use of N-word - ABA Journal - May 16th, 2021
- Prince Harry Calls The First Amendment 'Bonkers' and He Makes a Good Point - Showbiz Cheat Sheet - May 16th, 2021
- The First Amendment's Role in Broadcast and Online Regulation - Lexology - May 16th, 2021
- The Road Ahead for Net Neutrality and the First Amendment - JD Supra - May 16th, 2021
- Compliance Corner: A Brief Introduction to the History and Theory of Campaign-Finance Law, Part II - InsiderNJ - May 16th, 2021
- New Lawsuit Argues That D.C.'s Ban on Dancing at Weddings Violates the First Amendment - Reason - May 16th, 2021
- Commentary: It's time to revive Fairness Doctrine and expand it - Crain's Detroit Business - May 16th, 2021
- Social And Political Issues And The Workplace Implications For Employers - Employment and HR - United States - Mondaq News Alerts - May 16th, 2021
- Protesters: Changes to the Rockford City Market are meant to stymie their message - Rockford Register Star - May 16th, 2021
- Twitter's lawsuit against Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton tossed by federal judge - The Texas Tribune - May 16th, 2021
- Idaho Press Club objects to the subpoena of journalist Nate Eaton, of East Idaho News - East Idaho News - May 16th, 2021
- Trump, the Facebook Ban, and Who Decides - Bloomberg Law - May 16th, 2021
- First Amendment Versus The Civil Rights Act: A Clash Of Titans - Employment and HR - United States - Mondaq News Alerts - May 3rd, 2021
- Commentary: How to live your First Amendment freedoms - Press Herald - May 3rd, 2021
- Students and First Amendment Week: The Right to Be Loud - BVU The Tack Online - May 3rd, 2021
- The First Amendment and Social Media The Tack Online - BVU The Tack Online - May 3rd, 2021
- Justices Appear Poised to Strike Down California Law in Case with Potential to Allow More Dark Money in Politics - Law & Crime - May 3rd, 2021
- A close call this time, but lawmakers have a bad attitude on openness | Cotterell - Tallahassee Democrat - May 3rd, 2021
- The Two Teds - Episode 3 - The First Amendment - Gibson Dunn - April 19th, 2021
- MyPillow CEO Recruits First Amendment Heavy Hitters to Fight Dominion - The Daily Beast - April 19th, 2021
- Some LGBTQ groups and leaders are taking different sides in First Amendment case - Out In Jersey - April 19th, 2021
- Tenth Circuit Grants Qualified Immunity to Police Who Knowingly Violated the First Amendment - Cato Institute - April 19th, 2021
- Spencer and Volokh Discuss the First Amendment and Content Moderation on Social Media Platforms - UMass Dartmouth - April 19th, 2021
- Lecturers speak on the importance of the First Amendment in the civil rights movement - Iowa State Daily - April 19th, 2021
- Protect the police or the First Amendment? | TheHill - The Hill - April 19th, 2021
- Smartmatic Calls Bulls--t on Foxs First Amendment Argument - Vanity Fair - April 19th, 2021
- Letter: Equality Act targets First Amendment rights | Letters to the Editor | readingeagle.com - Reading Eagle - April 19th, 2021
- MLive/Kalamazoo Gazettes Brad Devereaux wins First Amendment Award for exposing closed-door meetings - MLive.com - April 19th, 2021
- The IHRA Definition of Anti-Semitism Puts Jews on the Wrong Side of the First Amendment - Jewish Week - April 19th, 2021
- Project Veritas Gonna Sue Twitter For Defamatory Section 230 Censorship And First Amendment Assault Or Something - Above the Law - April 19th, 2021
- Letter: On God and the First Amendment | Communities | mainstreet-nashville.com - Main Street Nashville - April 19th, 2021
- Justice Thomas's Misguided Concurrence on Platform Regulation - Lawfare - April 19th, 2021
- 'Hate has no home here': City of Appleton puts up sign countering sign with homophobic slur - Post-Crescent - April 19th, 2021
- Prohibited prayer and the limits of government authority even in a pandemic | Sullum - Chicago Sun-Times - April 19th, 2021
- Clarence Thomas plays a poor devils advocate in floating First Amendment limits for tech companies - TechCrunch - April 6th, 2021
- First Circuit Upholds First Amendment Right to Secretly Audio Record the Police - EFF - April 6th, 2021
- Justice Clarence Thomas Takes Aim At Tech And Its Power 'To Cut Off Speech' - NPR - April 6th, 2021
- "Fake News" and the First Amendment - University of Dayton - News Home - April 6th, 2021
- Bar owners went beyond First Amendment rights with their 'raised voices, interrupting,' AG argues - Cambridge Day - April 6th, 2021
- Clarence Thomas blasts Section 230, wants common-carrier rules on Twitter - Ars Technica - April 6th, 2021
- Drones (and the First Amendment) take on regulatory overreach in North Carolina - Chatham Journal Weekly - April 6th, 2021
- The university response to offensive speech often reflects a feeble commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion - Poynter - April 6th, 2021
- Online event examines the relationship between free speech and firearms - Nevada Today - April 6th, 2021
- Official Website for the Governor of Maryland - maryland.gov - April 6th, 2021
- Opinion: Remembering the Core Four Pillars of Journalism Amid a Pandemic - Times of San Diego - April 6th, 2021
- Tenth Circuit Misses Opportunity to Affirm the First Amendment Right to Record the Police - EFF - April 2nd, 2021
- Is There a First Amendment Right to Tweet? - JSTOR Daily - April 2nd, 2021
- Is blocking a constituent on Twitter against the First Amendment? This DC resident thinks so | The Hill is Home - The Hillishome - April 2nd, 2021
- The 6th Circuit Reached the Right Conclusion on Preferred Pronouns. Other Courts Should Follow Suit. - Heritage.org - April 2nd, 2021
- Why It's So Hard to Prosecute White Extremists - The Marshall Project - April 2nd, 2021
- Loeb School announces free spring classes and writing workshops - The Union Leader - April 2nd, 2021
- Parler Forced To Explain The First Amendment To Its Users After They Complain About Parler Turning Over Info To The FBI - Techdirt - March 31st, 2021
- Terrorism and Other Dangerous Online Content: Exporting the First Amendment? - Just Security - March 31st, 2021
- The First Amendment: Rarely Popular, Always Necessary - The Dispatch - March 31st, 2021