The United States Senate passed the COVID-19 Hate Crimes Act, which would improve data collection of hate crimes associated with COVID-19 and expand public awareness of those crimes, in a rare bipartisan vote of 94-1. The bill was sponsored by Hawaiian Senator Mazie Hirono (D-HI). Approved amendments to the original bill include the “Jabara-Heyer NO HATE Act” from Senators Jerry Moran (R-KS) and Richard Blumenthal (D-CT) for funding for state and local governments to improve their reporting systems. Rejected amendments include a clause by Texas Senator Ted Cruz (R-TX) to “prohibit Federal funding for any institution of higher education that discriminates against Asian Americans in recruitment, applicant review, or admissions.” Senator Josh Hawley (R-MO) was the sole no vote.
The Jabara-Heyer NO Hate Act is named for Khalid Jabara, who was killed in a hate crime in Tulsa Oklahoma, and Heather Heyer, who was run over by a white supremacist in Charlottesville. The bill next moves to the House of Representatives for action.