Archive for Friday, September 28, 2007

Senate tacks hate crime bill onto spending legislation

September 28, 2007


— The Democratic-led Senate on Thursday voted to let federal law enforcement help states prosecute attacks on gays, attaching the provision to a massive spending bill for the Iraq war and daring President Bush to veto the whole package.

The White House wasn't commenting on the prospects for a veto of the underlying defense authorization bill. But some Republicans warned that's just what would happen after the Senate voted by voice to accept the hate crimes amendment.

"The president is not going to agree to this social legislation on the defense authorization bill," said Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C. "This bill will get vetoed."

Still, the hate crimes provision attracted significant support from the president's party. Nine Republicans were among the 60 senators who voted to halt any filibusters and bring the matter to the final voice vote.

The White House stopped short of reiterating Bush's veto threat, issued earlier this year when the House passed the same hate crimes provision as a stand-alone bill. But presidential spokeswoman Dana Perino made clear that Bush believes the federal provision is unnecessary.

"State and local law enforcement agencies are effectively using their laws to the full extent they can," Perino said. She wouldn't comment on the prospects for a veto.

The provision has progressed to this point before. In the Republican-controlled Congress, the Senate in 2004 attached a similar measure to the same authorization bill, but it was stripped out during negotiations with the House.

This time, majority Democrats first passed the provision in the House. So the prospect of being stripped out during negotiations is less likely, leaving open the question of a presidential veto.

The bill is named for Matthew Shepard, a gay college freshman who died after he was beaten into a coma in 1998 in Laramie, Wyo.

Under current federal law, hate crimes apply to acts of violence against individuals on the basis of race, religion, color or national origin. Federal prosecutors have jurisdiction only if the victim is engaged in a specific federally protected activity such as voting.

The bill would extend the hate crimes category to include sexual orientation, gender, gender identity or disability and give federal authorities greater leeway to participate in hate crime investigations. It would approve $10 million over the next two years to help local law enforcement officials cover the cost of hate crime prosecutions. Federal investigators could step in if local authorities were unwilling or unable to act.


SettingTheRecordStraight 10 years, 9 months ago

Beware those who promote "hate crimes" legislation. It's really the thought-police in disguise.

toefungus 10 years, 9 months ago

Federal involvement in state or local law enforcement issues is unconstitutional. This ongoing effort by Congress to get involved in States rights is wrong and is nothing more than a continuing federalization of everyone's life.

kneejerkreaction 10 years, 9 months ago

Agnostick (Anonymous) says: toefungus, give us a break, please: LOL!!! Anyone with even a grade-school civics class under their belt knows that "the Feds" generally don't get involved unless they are asked...

Not true Agnos. As the title say, this was tacked onto a spending legislation. This is merely the work of a good lobbyist for his clients. It's not necessarily needed or asked for by more than a special interest group who paid to get it advanced.

kneejerkreaction 10 years, 9 months ago

It just annoys me that the Fed. Gov. tells me who I can and can't hate.

kneejerkreaction 10 years, 9 months ago

Then, it just annoys me that the Fed. Gov. tells me who I can and can't beat up. Oh, wait, aren't there existing laws to take care of this?

kneejerkreaction 10 years, 9 months ago

Agnes., take a breath, you give yourself way too much consideration. Sorry, I don't read old posts.

sfjayhawk 10 years, 9 months ago

Im still trying to figure out how this legislation could be interpreted as a 'racist program' or the work of the thought police. This has nothing to do with either race or thoughts. Surely the gestapo can come up with a better argument - why not try using the truth and admit that suppressing your latent homosexuality causes you to lash out at what you really crave. A good example is REPUBLICAN senator Craig, a leading sponsor of bigoted anti-gay legislation. Just come out of the closet already and be proud, not ashamed, of who you are.

kneejerkreaction 10 years, 9 months ago

sfjay., the main reason to object to this legislation is because it is just that, more legislation. Legislation that is being dealt with at state/local levels. The Feds don't need to get into every aspect of local life. This is just a special interest foofoo bill, regardless of sexual orientation, it's an unnecessary bill.

sfjayhawk 10 years, 9 months ago

kneejerk - is all federal legislation bad? What happens when the state or local governments do not act - like for instance, was it wrong for the federal government to act in desegregating public institutions in the south during the civil rights era? If a local area wants to ban all gays and issue a lynch law aimed a gays, should they be able to?

kneejerkreaction 10 years, 9 months ago

Gays are not being lynched and shot. There are isolated hate crimes, but not pervasive like in the 60s in the South. Different circumstances.

kneejerkreaction 10 years, 9 months ago

at least you don't reference your jab to Wikipedia. you a stockholder or something?

Tychoman 10 years, 9 months ago

Mike if they eliminated riders from legislation, no new laws would ever be passed. :)

camper 10 years, 9 months ago

OK hate crime is bad. Intimidating to law abiding folks. Reprehensible.

My comment is on the bill. It is political. The Democrats "tacked" this at the bottom of the bill to prevent the other stuff on the lines presented above. This is nonsense I smell it right away. If you want to present a hate bill, put it out there by itself.

This thing was tacked on either for political motives, or the Democrats wanted to take vacation. Idiots all of them. Does anyone else see this

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