Assemblymember Chu Introduces Bills Protect Communities and Combat Hate Crimes

Monday, January 28, 2019

CONTACT: Annie Pham (916) 319-2025

(SACRAMENTO, CA) – Assemblymember Kansen Chu introduced AB 300 and AB 301, taking action on the growing number of hate crimes and recommendations from the 2018 hate crimes auditor report completed by the California State Auditor.  Specifically, AB 300 and AB 301 will reduce the under and misreporting of hate crimes, improve prosecution rates, enhance reporting tools, and implement other recommendations from the audit report.  These bills build on Assemblymember Chu’s work to address the continuing spike in hate incidents and crimes throughout the state and the rest of the country.

“Hate crimes have tragic and long lasting impacts on victims, their love ones, and the larger community,” said Assemblymember Kansen Chu (D-San Jose).  “And many of them go unreported.  The increase in hate crimes and the fact that California shares 1/7th of the national total number are startling and unacceptable.  My proposals are not to criticize any current efforts.  They are to complement and strengthen current policies in order to protect our families, friends, neighbors, and community.”

According to the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s (FBI) 2017 report on hate crimes, there has been a continuous increase in reported incidents for the third year in a row.  Out of the 7,100, there was a 17% increase from 2016 in reported hate crimes, and the majority of victims were targeted because of their race, ethnicity, religion and sexual orientation.  California saw a similar increase with 1,093 reported hate crimes, a 17.4% increase from 2016.

In 2017, as Chair of the Select Committee on Hate Crimes, Assemblymember Chu and other committee members requested an audit on California’s current performance on addressing hate crimes from the local to state level.  The audit report was released in 2018, and the State Auditor found misreporting and underreporting of hate crimes, low prosecution rates due to lack of information, need for refresher trainings for peace officers, and insufficient interagency communication, among other issues.

“The Center for the Study of Hate & Extremism (CSHE) at California State University, San Bernardino vigorously supports requirement of supplemental police forms for hate crime to remedy the pervasive underreporting uncovered by our research.  CSHE is calling for these proposed measures to be implemented, not only throughout California, but nationally as well,” said Brian Levin, the Center’s Director.  The Center for the Study of Hate and Extremism at California State University, San Bernardino studies and provides statistics on hate crimes in addition to providing expertise throughout the country in support of stronger policies.

“Anti-disability crimes, often involving extraordinary acts of sadism, are the invisible hate crimes. Adults and children with disabilities, including disabilities caused by aging, are victimized by violent crime at seven times the rate of the general population, yet the perpetrators are rarely charged with hate crimes, if they are arrested at all. If we were to believe the official figures, there were just four anti-disability hate crimes in California in 2017. By requiring reporting and investigation of all suspected hate crimes, Mr.  Chu’s bill will be a major step toward protecting all Californians from violent, criminal racism, homophobia, sexism -- and ableism,” said Greg deGiere, Civil Right Advocate at the Arc of California.  The Arc of California, part of a national organization, is a leading advocate for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities. 

“Hate Crime victims are more likely to report to law enforcement if they know a specific reporting system exists and that law enforcement can respond appropriately and effectively.  This is why the addition of checkbox to identify hate motivated crimes and incidents on all crime reports, and the use of a supplemental report for suspected hate crimes and incidents, are so essential. Together these measures will enable law enforcement to better identify, investigate and respond to hate crimes and hate incidents in our communities,” said Nancy Appel, Senior Associate Regional Director and California Legislative Director at the Anti-Defamation League Central Pacific Region.  The Anti-Defamation League is a national voice confronting bias and bigotry of all forms through advocacy, educational programs, and in partnerships with law enforcement and community groups.

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