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Hate Crimes Statistics Bill Clears Senate Judiciary Panel

A bill requiring the U.S. Justice Department to gather and publish annual statistics on crimes motivated by hate was approved in a voice vote Wednesday by the Senate Judiciary Committee.

The bill, which covers crimes against individuals or property because of race, religion, ethnic heritage or sexual orientation, was approved by the House in May. The full Senate is expected to act on it next month.

The Anti-Defamation League of B’nai B’rith and the American Jewish Congress have been urging support of the legislation, as a means of accurately gauging the dimensions of hate crimes. The ADL, which issues an annual report on anti-Semitic incidents, said in its latest report that the number of hate crimes reported in 1987 was 17 percent higher than the number in 1986.

If the Senate approves the statistics bill, it would be the second law dealing with hate crimes adopted this year. In June, President Reagan signed into law a bill that imposes federal criminal penalties for damage to religious property or injury to anyone in the exercise of his or her religious beliefs.

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