Speed Reads

hate crimes legislation

House passes bill aimed at combating hate crimes against Asian Americans

With a vote of 364-62, the House on Tuesday passed the COVID-19 Hate Crimes Act, which directs the Justice Department to appoint an official to expedite a review of coronavirus-related hate crimes against Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders.

All of the opposing votes were from Republicans. The Senate approved the legislation 94-1 in April, with Sen. Josh Hawley (R-Mo.) the lone vote against it. President Biden is expected to sign the bill into law later this week.

Since the coronavirus pandemic began last spring, there has been a sharp increase in the number of attacks against Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders, and the bill also calls on federal agencies to work with community-based organizations to spread awareness of hate crimes and establish a way for law enforcement to report hate crimes online.

Rep. Grace Meng (D-N.Y.), who introduced the legislation with Sen. Mazie Hirono (D-Hawaii), said on Tuesday it is "a necessary step to confront the second pandemic of racism and discrimination. We cannot mend what we do not measure."