From People's Weekly World News
The US House of Representatives passed the Local Law Enforcement Hate Crimes Prevention Act, also known as the Matthew Shepard Act, Wednesday, April 29th with a bipartisan majority.
Supporters of the bill say it would provide local law enforcement agencies with additional resources to investigate hate crimes motivated by race, ethnicity, gender, religion, national origin, sexual orientation, gender identity and disability.
In addition, it would provide federal agencies with a means to participate in local hate crimes cases when local agencies can't or refuse to investigate serious bias-motivated crimes adequately. Funds would also be made available to local agencies for training purposes.
Two key provisions of the law would be to expand federally protected categories to include sexual orientation and gender identity. Joe Solmonese, president of the Human Rights Campaign, pointed out that federal hate crimes statistics show that one in six hate crimes are committed against an LGBT person, and that number is on the rise.
"The nation cannot wait any longer to protect all of its citizens," said Solmonese. "We should all be able to walk the streets without fear."
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