NC Senate Hate Crime Bill Faces Long Odds As Deadline Approaches

NC Senate Hate Crime Bill Faces Long Odds As Deadline Approaches

8:22am May 13, 2021
Chinese-Japanese American student Kara Chu, 18, holds a pair of heart balloons decorated by herself for the rally "Love Our Communities: Build Collective Power" to raise awareness of anti-Asian violence outside the Japanese American National Museum in Little Tokyo in Los Angeles in March. (AP Photo/Damian Dovarganes)

A bill that would have updated the state’s hate crime guidelines appears to have stalled.

Thursday marks the important crossover deadline in the North Carolina General Assembly. Bills that haven’t passed in either chamber won’t be considered for the rest of the legislative term.

Senate Bill 439 appears to be among them. It was written to expand the scope and punishment of hate crimes. Among its provisions are increased training for law enforcement to identify hate crimes, and a statewide database to track bias-related offenses. 

Earlier this month supporters of the bill, including lawmakers and activists, held a press conference urging passage of the measure, known as The Hate Crimes Prevention Act. They say existing measures are inadequate to fight a rise in attacks and verbal harassment of Asian-Americans that has occurred since the start of the pandemic.

The bill has been stuck in the Senate Rules Committee, a sign that it’s unlikely to move forward in the current session.

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