WASHINGTON (Sep. 21)
Legislation that would increase the penalties imposed for hate crimes received a major boost Tuesday, as the House of Representatives easily passed the Hate Crimes Sentencing Enhancement Act.
The bill, long supported by Jewish organizations, would give federal judges the ability to impose longer prison terms for criminals motivated by a victim’s race, religion, nationality, gender or sexual orientation.
“The number of hate crimes keeps going up, and that’s why we’ve got to give law enforcement better tools to fight back,” said Rep. Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.), who sponsored the bill.
The bill now goes to the Senate, which defeated a similar bill introduced last year.