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AG Schmidt urges Congress to support efforts to fight hate crimes

(WCAX)
Published: Apr. 14, 2021 at 12:01 PM CDT
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TOPEKA, Kan. (WIBW) - Attorney General Derek Schmidt is leading a bipartisan coalition that presses Congress to support efforts to fight hate crimes.

Attorney General Derek Schmidt says he has led a bipartisan effort to press Congress for more funding to give the necessary tools to state and local law enforcement agencies to identify, report and prevent hate crimes in their jurisdictions.

AG Schmidt said he co-authored a letter to congressional leaders with District of Columbia Attorney General Karl Racine to urge the passage of the Jabara-Heyer No Hate Act. He said the legislation would hand out federal grants to improve hate crimes reporting and increase the consequences for federal hate crimes in an effort to stem the rise in hate, extremism and bias-motivated crimes across the nation. He said they were joined by 33 other state and territory attorneys general.

According to Schmidt, the grants would be used to train employees to identify, classify and report hate crimes in the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s national database, help with states’ development of programs to prevent hate crimes, to increase community education around hate crimes and to create state-run hate crime hotlines.

“For more than two decades, thousands of city, county, college and university, state, tribal, and federal law enforcement agencies have voluntarily submitted hate crimes data to the FBI,” Schmidt and Racine wrote. “However, based on the FBI’s 2019 report, most law enforcement agencies did not participate or reported zero incidents. Exacerbating this gap, less than 25% of law enforcement agencies are using the FBI’s current reporting system, which took effect this year. This lack of data creates critical gaps that inhibit our understanding of the hate problem.”

Schmidt said the bill would create incentives, not mandates, in order to encourage and help states to improve their data-collection systems.

To see the full letter, click HERE.

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