Recipient: U.S House of Representatives
September 28, 2004
On behalf of the Leadership Conference on Civil Rights (LCCR), the nation’s oldest, largest, and most diverse civil rights coalition representing people of color, women, children, older Americans, persons with disabilities, gays and lesbians, major religious organizations, labor unions, and civil and human rights groups, we urge you to vote to instruct House conferees to include the Senate-passed Local Law Enforcement Enhancement Act of 2003 (S. 966) in the Department of Defense Authorization bill (H.R. 4200).
The LLEEA strengthens the federal hate crimes statute by removing unnecessary obstacles to federal prosecution and by providing authority for federal involvement in a wider category of bias motivated crimes. Current hate crimes law leaves federal prosecutors powerless to intervene in bias motivated crimes when they cannot also establish that the crime was committed because of the victim’s involvement in a “federally protected activity,” such as serving on a jury, attending a public school, or voting. The LLEEA would enhance the federal response to hate crime violence by covering all violent crimes based on race, color, religion, or national origin. In addition, the LLEEA would permit federal involvement in the prosecution of bias-motivated crimes based on the victim’s gender, sexual orientation, or disability. This expansion is critical in order to protect members of these groups from this most egregious form of discrimination.
While LCCR recognizes that bigotry cannot be legislated out of existence, a forceful, moral response to hate violence is required of us all. We strongly believe Congress must do everything possible to empower the federal government to assist in local hate crime prosecutions and, where appropriate, expand existing federal authority to permit a wider range of investigations and prosecutions.
Please contact Julie Fernandes, LCCR Senior Policy Analyst, at 202/263-2856, or Nancy Zirkin at 202/263-2880, with any questions. Thank you in advance for your support.