Skinner Introduces Legislation to Strengthen Hate Crime Statute and to Treat Crimes by White Nationalist Groups as Terrorism 

August 21, 2017

CONTACT: Casey Farmer, Communications Director, 510-393-0388

 

Skinner Introduces Legislation to Strengthen Hate Crime Statute and to Treat Crimes by White Nationalist Groups as Terrorism 

Oakland – Today, Senator Skinner will introduce a bill to strengthen California’s anti-hate crime laws and resolutions calling on local, state and federal law enforcement to treat white supremacists as terrorists and directing law enforcement to use all available options, including anti-terrorism and anti-hate crime laws, to fully prosecute members of these groups.

“Racist terrorism as expressed by these white nationalist groups is not welcome in California,” said Senator Skinner. “Taking these actions, California will ensure that racist and hateful groups can be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law.”

Skinner’s bill, SB 630, expands California’s existing hate crime statute to protect individuals who are acting in support of and/or in defense of protected groups. This fixes a loophole that has allowed hate group members to escape harsher penalties due to a legal technicality.

“Heather Heyer’s killer could not be charged with a hate crime because Heather herself does not fall within the law’s definition of a protected class,” said State Senator Nancy Skinner. “SB 630 addresses this ambiguity to ensure that those who commit a hate act, regardless of the status of the victim, can be prosecuted fully and appropriately.”

"The current aggressive nature of hate speech and conduct has heightened the moral imperative to stand up for what is right. SB 630 will aid our fight against hate based crimes that target any person or group of people,” said Alameda District Attorney Nancy O’Malley

Skinner also introduced two Resolutions, SJR 13 & SR 55, modeled on the State of Illinois’ recent action. Specifically the Resolutions denounce white nationalist and neo-Nazi acts of violence, and urge local, state and federal law enforcement to use all legal options, including those relating to terrorism and hate crimes, to prosecute such crimes.

“The horrific events in Charlottesville and elsewhere prove that violent white nationalism and neo-Nazism remain very real threats,” said State Senator Nancy Skinner. “These groups’ intent is to terrorize our communities, so it makes sense to prosecute them as terrorists.”

The following Senators have signed on as co-authors of SB 630 and SJR 13 and SR 55: 

Senators Jim Beall, Steve Bradford, Cathleen Galgiani, Ricardo Lara, Connie Levya, Bill Monning, Henry Stern, and Scott Weiner.