It really is not unusual for lawmakers to say “hey, let’s deal with this issue”, craft a bill, then just keep adding to it. For instance, here in NC years ago the police wanted those license plate covers that make them hard to read, especially at night, banned. They were, and the legislature added lots more to it to essentially ban any plate bracket. Is that what happened with this Senate bill? Or, is the violation of Free Speech intentional? And why in the heck did most of the GOP vote for it? Did they read it?
The Senate passed with overwhelming bipartisan support a hate crimes bill to address a drastic increase in violence and discrimination directed at Asian Americans during the COVID-19 pandemic.
The COVID-19 Hate Crimes Act cleared the chamber in a 94-1 vote Thursday. It would expedite the Justice Department’s review of hate crimes andwould designate an official at the department to oversee the effort.
It also would task the department with coordinating with local law enforcement groups and community-based organizations to facilitate and raise awareness about hate crime reporting,including establishing an online hate crime reporting system in multiple languages.
The legislation, which now heads to the Democratic-led House, is one of the few bills to pass this Senate with support from both Republicans and Democrats. Many Democrats expected a legislative fight, but Republicans signaled early their willingness to compromise on the legislation, and senators from both parties have been negotiating for weeks.
Did they bother reading it, or understand that the road to hell is paved with good intentions?
The expanded legislation, spearheaded by Sen. Mazie Hirono, D-Hawaii,underwent several bipartisan changes before its final passage.
Speaking from the Senate floor Thursday, Hirono said that by passing the bill “We will send a powerful message of solidarity to the AAPI community that the Senate won’t be a bystander as anti-Asian violence surges in our country.”
I can understand why Mitch McConnell wants this, as his wife is Asian. For Chuck Schumer, well, most of the crimes we’ve seen against Asians occur in Democratic Party run areas.
One addition to the bill from Sens. Richard Blumenthal, D-Conn., and Jerry Moran, R-Kan., would establish grants to aid local and state governments to encourage more training on hate crimes for law enforcement, establish hate crime hotlines and allow for a “rehabilitation” effort for perpetrators of hate crimes.
And this is where it starts getting a little hinky. The revised legislation shows, all the way at the end, that anyone who commits a “hate crime” can be forced by the court to take “educational classes or community service directly related to the community harmed by the defendant’s offense.” Anyone else think that sounds a bit like forced re-education? Then there’s this as written for the original release of the bill from Congresscritter Grace Meng, the House sponsor of the bill
“The ongoing anti-Asian hate crimes and incidents, especially against our elderly Asian Americans, is absolutely horrific. I am honored to introduce the COVID-19 Hate Crimes Act with Senator Hirono to address this disgusting pattern of hate,” said Congresswoman Meng. “Before this pandemic started, I urged everyone—including elected officials—to not blame Asian Americans for the virus. My words were not heeded. The former president and his Congressional Republican enablers trafficked racist, bigoted terms to describe COVID-19. In doing so, their language stoked people’s fears and created an atmosphere of intolerance and violence, which persists even today. Since the beginning of the pandemic there has been nearly 3,000 reported incidents of physical, verbal, and online attacks against Asian Americans. Even in my own district in Queens, New York, Asian Americans have been attacked. To combat those acts, we need DOJ to prioritize addressing these heinous acts by designating a point person for these COVID-19 related hate crimes; make it easier for victims to report crimes committed against them; and expand public education campaigns to address COVID-19 hate crimes and incidents. This must end and it is why we are working to ensure our justice system has the people and resources to effectively account for and mitigate anti-Asian hate crimes. I look forward to this bill becoming law.”
“We’ve seen the horrifying consequences of racist language as AAPI communities across our country experience hate crimes and violence related to the pandemic,” said Senator Hirono. “The COVID-19 Hate Crimes Act addresses the surge in violence against AAPI communities by dedicating an official at the Department of Justice to expeditiously review hate crimes reported to law enforcement. The bill also provides resources for communities to come together and fight intolerance and hate. This is no less than victims deserve.”
This positions language as violence, and looks to restrict language. One of the things the bill would do is
Issue guidance describing best practices to mitigate racially discriminatory language in describing the COVID–19 pandemic, in coordination with the Secretary of Health and Human Services and the COVID–19 Health Equity Task Force and community-based organizations.
In other words, they will let you know what words you can and can’t say. Which is interesting in that most of this occurs, again, in Democratic run areas. And a violation of the 1st Amendment.
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