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Senator Murray is an original cosponsor of the COVID-19 Hate Crimes Act and voted in favor of the bill, which passed the Senate 94-1 today 

ICYMI: Senator Murray Joins Resolution Condemning Anti-Asian Hatred, Discrimination – MORE HERE 

Senator Murray: “We acted today to help keep AAPI communities safe and send a clear message: these hate crimes must stop immediately. To the AAPI community in Washington state, know I’m with you and my work to end these racist attacks won’t stop today—far from it” 

(Washington, D.C.) – Today, U.S. Senator Patty Murray (D-WA) voted in favor of Senator Mazie K. Hirono’s (D-HI) COVID-19 Hate Crimes Act, which passed the Senate by a vote of 94-1 with bipartisan support, to address the rise of hate crimes and violence targeted at Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders (AAPIs). The COVID-19 Hate Crimes Act would assign a point person at the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) to expedite the review and reporting of COVID-19-related hate crimes, provide support for state and local law enforcement agencies to respond to hate crimes, and coordinate with local and federal partners to mitigate racially discriminatory language used to describe the pandemic. Senator Murray is an original cosponsor of the bill.

“The rise in violent hate crimes we have seen during this pandemic against members of the Asian American and Pacific Islander communities in Washington state and across the country is vicious, heartbreaking, and unacceptable. Thanks to this legislation there will finally be some accountability,” Senator Murray said. “We acted today to help keep AAPI communities safe and send a clear message: these hate crimes must stop immediately. To the AAPI community in Washington state, know I’m with you and my work to end these racist attacks won’t stop today—far from it.”

The COVID-19 Hate Crimes Act directs DOJ to:

  • Designate a DOJ employee to assist with expedited review of COVID-19 hate crimes reported to federal, state, and/or local law enforcement;
  • Provide guidance for state and local law enforcement agencies to:
    • establish online reporting of hate crimes or incidents, and to have online reporting available in multiple languages;
    • expand culturally competent and linguistically appropriate public education campaigns, and collection of data and public reporting of hate crimes; and
  • Issue guidance detailing best practices to mitigate racially discriminatory language in describing the COVID–19 pandemic, in coordination with the Secretary of Health and Human Services, the COVID–19 Health Equity Task Force and community-based organizations.

The COVID-19 Hate Crimes Act was amended to also include the Opposition to Hate, Assault, and Threats to Equality Act (NO HATE Act). The bipartisan NO HATE Act would improve hate crimes reporting and expand assistance and resources for victims of hate crimes. It would establish hate crime hotlines, help rehabilitate perpetrators of hate crimes through education and community service, and it would also encourage law enforcement prevention, training and education on hate crimes.

Since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, more than 3,000 first-hand accounts of anti-Asian discrimination have been reported, some including vicious assaults against Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) elders. Between March 19, 2020 to February 28, 2021, Stop AAPI Hate received 3,795 reported incidents of racism and discrimination targeting Asian Americans across the U.S. In 2020, Washington state ranked 3rd for highest rate of incidents of targeted harassment against AAPI community members.

Senator Murray has consistently condemned racist hate towards AAPI communities since the beginning of the COVID-19 crisis. At the start of the pandemic, Senator Murray raised concerns about the rise in anti-Asian racism, and last month Senator Murray joined Senator Hirono’s resolution condemning all forms of anti-Asian sentiment, racism, and discrimination and calling on federal officials, in collaboration with state and local agencies and AAPI community organizations, to address the rise in COVID-19-related hate crimes.

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