YES! Another victory!

29 04 2009

The Local Law Enforcement Hate Crimes Prevention Act of 2009 (also known as the Matthew Shepherd Act) was just passed, despite resistance from conservatives.  This is what the bill does:

Authorizes the Attorney General to provide technical, forensic, prosecutorial, or other assistance in the criminal investigation or prosecution of any crime that:
(1) constitutes a crime of violence under federal law or a felony under state, local, or Indian tribal law; and
(2) is motivated by prejudice based on the actual or perceived race, color, religion, national origin, gender, sexual orientation, gender identity, or disability of the victim, or is a violation of the state, local, or tribal hate crime laws.

Directs the Attorney General to give priority for assistance to crimes committed by offenders who have committed crimes in more than one state and to rural jurisdictions that have difficulty covering the extraordinary investigation or prosecution expenses. Authorizes the Attorney General to award grants to assist state, local, and Indian law enforcement agencies with such extraordinary expenses. Directs the Office of Justice Programs to:
(1) work closely with funded jurisdictions to ensure that the concerns and needs of all affected parties are addressed; and
(2) award grants to state and local programs designed to combat hate crimes committed by juveniles.

Amends the federal criminal code to prohibit willfully causing bodily injury to any person because of the actual or perceived race, color, religion, national origin, gender, sexual orientation, gender identity, or disability of such person. Amends the Hate Crimes Statistics Act to expand data collection and reporting requirements under such Act to include:
(1) crimes manifesting prejudice based on gender and gender identity; and
(2) hate crimes committed by and against juveniles. Declares that nothing in this Act shall be construed to prohibit the exercise of constitutionally-protected free speech.



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