Thank you for contacting me regarding hate crimes legislation. I appreciate hearing from you, and regret the delayed response. As you may know, Senator Edward Kennedy introduced the Matthew Shepard Hate Crimes Prevention Act (S. 909) on April 28, 2009. If enacted, this legislation would define a hate crime as a crime in which the offender intentionally selects a victim because of race, color, religion, national origin, ethnicity, gender, disability, or sexual orientation. It authorizes the United States Attorney General to provide state, local, or tribal law enforcement agencies with assistance in the investigation or prosecution of violent crimes and hate crimes and provides federal grant money to states help cover the particularly high costs of these investigations. It is important to note that nothing in S. 909 will prohibit the exercise of constitutionally protected free speech. I have consistently supported hate crimes prevention legislation and am a cosponsor of S. 909. There are over 9,000 hate crime incidents reported annually each year. The Matthew Shepard Hate Crimes Prevention Act sends a clear message that violence against a person based on race, sexual orientation, or religion will not be tolerated anywhere in this country. Thank you again for contacting me to share your thoughts on this matter. You may also be interested in signing up for periodic updates for Washington State residents. If you are interested in subscribing to this update, please visit my website at http://cantwell.senate.gov. Please do not hesitate to contact me in the future if I can be of further assistance.
I expected this type of answer…..As you can read from the Bill that it was written using a really broad brush and is filled with vague language. There is a lot of room for interpretation and abuse by the Feds if they want to use this law against someone. I stand by my initial read of this Bill.