In Response to Attacks in Orlando, Senate Democrats Unveil New Proposal to Fully Fund Dept. of Justice Programs that Protect All Americans from Discrimination, Strengthen Enforcement of Civil Rights and Hate Crime Laws and Prevent Targeted Attacks Driven by Hate

New Baldwin-Mikulski-Hirono Amendment Would Boost Funding For Department Of Justice Civil Rights Division And Community Relations Service And Expand Programs Aimed At Preventing, Investigating, and Prosecuting Hate Crimes And Enforcing Federal Civil Rights Laws

Just Yesterday, Senate Democrats Announced A Proposal To Fully Fund The FBI & Boost Grants That Give Local Law Enforcement Around The Country Resources To Train Against Active Shooters

Senate Democrats: We Must Do All We Can to Keep All Americans Safe From Terror Attacks, Discrimination and Hate Crimes

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, Senate Democrats, led by Senators Tammy Baldwin (D-WI), Barbara Mikulski (D-MD), Vice-Chair of the Senate Committee on Appropriations, and Mazie K. Hirono (D-HI) unveiled an amendment to the Commerce, Justice, Science and Related Agencies (CJS) Appropriations Act that would provide an additional $41 million to Department of Justice programs that prevent bias-motivated attacks and discrimination. In response to the bias-motivated attacks against the LGBT and Latino communities in Orlando, the new Senate Democratic amendment would ensure the Department of Justice’s Civil Rights Divisions has the necessary resources to prevent, investigate and prosecute potential hate crimes throughout the country. Specifically, the Department of Justice’s Civil Rights Division (CRT) and Community Relations Service (CRS) would be allocated an additional $30 million and $11 million respectfully, under the Senate Democrats’ proposal.

In recent days, Senate Democrats have also pushed for Congress to pass legislation to prevent suspected terrorists from purchasing firearms and explosives and fully fund the FBI to prevent domestic terror attacks.

“We must have the courage stand up, speak out, and act. When we turn a blind eye to intolerance and discrimination against any community or group, we allow the things that fuel hate crimes to go unchecked. We must do more,” said Senator Baldwin. “The targeted attack of terror on the LGBT community in Orlando should be a cold reminder to us all that hate crimes are sadly and tragically too common in America. It is my hope that the Senate will stand united in support of this investment to prevent and confront hate crimes. Communities need stronger support to take on discrimination and hate, and protect the freedoms that every American deserves.”

“What happened in Orlando was not just a lone wolf terrorist attack, but a hate crime,” said Senator Mikulski.  “No hate crime should be tolerated against any community, against any group – ever.  This is an emergency, which is why the Baldwin-Mikulski amendment provides emergency funding for the Civil Rights Division and the Community Relations Service.  The Civil Rights Division enforces federal laws on the books to ensure that all Americans are free from discrimination and have equal access to education, employment and housing.  The Community Relations Service helps relieve community tensions, and communities, like Orlando, recover and heal when violence strikes.  We can’t afford to wait.  Stopping hatred is urgent.  The rising tide of discrimination is unforeseen.  And with this funding, we hope the problem will be temporary.”

“Last weekend’s tragedy in Orlando should be a sobering moment for our country. It’s time to move beyond thoughts, prayer, and reflection. It’s time for action,” Senator Hirono said. “This massacre was not just an act of terror, it was a hate crime that took the lives of 49 innocent people far too soon. Our amendment provides emergency funding to prevent and mitigate future hate crimes that target vulnerable communities across the country. The Senate should adopt this amendment without delay.”

A full summary of the Baldwin-Mikulski-Hirono amendment and its provisions can be found in the below fact sheet:

Fact Sheet: Baldwin-Mikulski-Hirono Proposal To Boost Funding For Department of Justice and Targeted Attacks Driven By Hate 

The Baldwin-Mikulski-Hirono amendment would provide an additional $41 million to H.R. 2578, the FY 2017 Commerce, Justice, Science, and Related Agencies Appropriations Act.  Of this amount, $30 million is dedicated to the Department of Justice (DOJ) Civil Rights Division (CRT), and $11 million is dedicated to the Community Relations Service.  This raises funding for DOJ to $197.4 million above the Fiscal Year 2016 funding level.

Supports CRT’s fight against discrimination. An additional $30 million would bring total funding for CRT to $175 million and support DOJ efforts to protect Americans from discrimination because of their sexual orientation and gender identity, as well as their race, color, sex, disability, religion, familial status, and national origin, including the investigation and prosecution of hate crimes. 

  • In 2006, 30, 405 civil rights lawsuits were filed in U.S. district courts. [BJS, 8/2008]
  • In 2014, federal law enforcement agencies reported 6, 727 victims of hate crimes.  46 of these individuals were the victims of multiple-bias crimes. [FBI, accessed 6/15/16]
  • Of the 6,727 victims of hate crimes reported by federal law enforcement agencies in 2014, 18.7 percent (or 1, 248) of victims of single-bias crimes were targeted because of their sexual orientation; 1.6 percent (or 109) of victims of single-bias crimes were targeted because of their gender-identity; and .6 percent (or 40) of victims of single-bias crimes were targeted because of their gender. [FBI, accessed 6/15/16]
  • Additional CRT funding would allow for the hiring of an additional 100 attorneys focused on enforcing federal civil rights and hate crime laws.

Helps state and local officials resolve and prevent bias motivated conflict and violence. An additional $11 million would support several DOJ Community Relations Service (CRS) initiatives and bring total funding for this program to $25 million.

  • CRS helps State and local officials find solutions when faced with bias-motivated crises that threaten their communities.
  • Its work, which excludes the investigation or prosecution of cases, is dedicated to crimes motivated by a victim’s gender, gender identity, race, ethnicity, national origin, religion, sexual orientation, or disability.
  • Additional CRS funding would allow for the hiring of 10 new mediation specialists to help mediate, train and facilitate in places across the country where tensions exist or hate crimes have occurred.