The U.S. Senate on Thursday passed an anti-Asian hate crimes bill in overwhelmingly bipartisan fashion with a vote of 94-1, CNN reports.
That lone vote against the bill came from Sen. Josh Hawley (R-MO).
The bill creates “a new position at the Justice Department to expedite reviews of potential Covid-19-related hate crimes,” CNN reported. It “would also direct the departments of Justice and Health and Human Services to issue guidance raising awareness of hate crimes during the pandemic, and work with agencies to establish online reporting of them.”
The bill, sponsored by New York Democratic Rep. Grace Meng and Hawaii Democratic Sen. Mazie Hirono, gained momentum after the shootings of six Asian women in Atlanta on March 16 drew even more attention to the rise of anti-Asian violence over the past year.
Some Republicans were initially skeptical about the legislation known as the Covid-19 Hate Crimes Act but Maine GOP Sen. Susan Collins and others teamed up with Hirono to strike an agreement broadening its support.
Last week, Hawley indicated his opposition to the bill, saying it was too broad and “open-ended” since it mandates “all this data collection in expansive categories that the federal government will collect and maintain.”
“That concerns me,” Hawley said.
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