Washington, D.C. - U.S. Senator Dianne Feinstein, today issued the following statement on the Matthew Shepard and James Byrd Jr. Hate Crimes Prevention Act.
The legislation passed as an amendment to the Fiscal Year 2010 Defense Authorization Conference Report by a vote of 68 to 29. The bill now heads to President Obama for his signature.
Following is the statement of Senator Feinstein:
“This is a legislative victory that is long overdue. The ‘Matthew Shepard and James Byrd, Jr. Hate Crimes Prevention Act’ will go a long way in deterring crimes against victims targeted solely because of who they are – because of their race, national origin, disability, gender, religion or sexual orientation.
According to the FBI, hate crimes occur at a rate of roughly one for every single hour of every day in the United States. The victims are innocent people who are walking to work, driving home at night, or even sitting in school classrooms.
Hate crimes have a common theme -- they leave people terrified, hurt, or worse, dead, and they rip communities apart. And it’s time that the law and punishment reflect that. I am proud that we are one step closer today to giving law enforcement all of the resources they need to investigate, solve, prosecute and punish these horrific crimes.”