Tuesday, October 27, 2009
The Matthew Shepard hate crimes bill will at long last become law. Last week, the Senate agreed to final passage of legislation that included the Matthew Shepard hate crime provision, and President Obama is expected to sign it into law. This law will strengthen the ability of federal, state and local law enforcement to investigate and prosecute hate crimes.
Hate crimes are particularly offensive because they are propelled by bias, ignorance and bigotry. These crimes do not just inflict harm on one victim, but they also instill fear in entire communities. And no person – simply because of who they are – should ever have to live in fear.
Earlier this year, the Matthew Shepard Local Law Enforcement Hate Crimes Prevention Act passed as an amendment to the Defense Authorization bill. It adds gender, sexual orientation, disability and gender identity to the list of protected categories under federal hate crimes laws. The measure also provides additional federal support to state and local authorities investigating and prosecuting hate crimes.
It has been more than 10 years since the senseless and brutal death of Matthew Shepard, and I look forward to watching President Obama sign this much-needed legislation into law.
United States Senator
How many times have you walked in or out of your local grocery store and felt pressured to give a handful of change to the Salvation Army volunteer, ringing his little bell? I think we've all probably dug into our pockets, at one point or another, and pulled out a crumpled dollar bill, proudly exchanged merry, merries and then dropped the cash into the little red kettle. It is after all Christmas-time, and the Salvation Army is out in full force.
They do good things with the money, right? Well, I hate to be the Grinch, but the answer is yes and no. According to the official website of the Salvation Army, 83 cents of every dollar collected goes directly to client service. Sounds impressive. The Salvation Army delivers aid to 36 million people through a national network of soup kitchens, drug-treatment centers, hospitals, shelters for battered women, nursing care and day-care centers run by low-paid workers or volunteers. The Army even does great work for AIDS care. That's the good.
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