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Hate Crimes

Congressional Action
112th Congress (2011-2012)

Hate crimes are defined by federal law as criminal acts motived by the assailants’ prejudice against the victims’ religion, race, ethnicity, disability, gender, or sexual orientation.  Congress passed the first hate crimes law as part of the Civil Rights Act of 1968 (also known as the Fair Housing Act).

Since then, Congress has passed a number of hate crime laws that include provisions designed to counter violence or intimidation based on the victims’ religion.  The most notable of these are:

Legislation introduced in the 112th Congress:

  • H.RES.283: Expressing the sense of the House of Representatives that the Federal Government should take steps to counter the growth in anti-Muslim sentiments, targeted rhetorical attacks, and violence against the Muslim, Arab, Sikh, and South Asian American communities.
    Sponsor: Representative John Conyers, Jr.
    Introduced on May 26, 2011
  • H.R.221: Noose Hate Crime Act of 2011
    Sponsor: Representative Sheila Jackson Lee
    Introduced on January 7, 2011
  • H.R.224: David Ray Hate Crimes Prevention Act of 2011
    Sponsor: Representative Sheila Jackson Lee
    Introduced on January 7, 2011

Information on proposed legislation can be found on the Library of Congress website: http://thomas.loc.gov/home/thomas.php