April 27, 2021•Advocacy Matters
Disability Matters with Joyce Bender
April 27, 2021
The U.S. House of Representatives and the U.S. Senate are in a highly active work period in Washington, D.C. The Senate is in session until May 3. The House will stay in session until Memorial Day. Both chambers are holding hearings and votes on the implementation of the American Rescue Plan, President Biden’s new infrastructure plan, COVID-19, hate crimes, voting rights, and fiscal year 2022 appropriations to fund federal agencies. We want to discuss the work happening on accessibility, hate crimes, and voting.
The U.S. Senate overwhelmingly passed S. 937, the COVID-19 Hate Crimes Act. The vote was 94 to 1. The legislation requires the Department of Justice to facilitate the expedited review of COVID-19 hate crimes, provides guidance for law enforcement agencies to establish online reporting of hate crimes or incidents that is equally effective for people with disabilities and for person in multiple languages, raise awareness of hate crimes during the COVID-19 pandemic, and included the passage of the Jabara-Heyer No Hate Act. The Jabara-Heyer No Hate Act provides grants and guidance to State and local enforcement agencies to enhance training and reporting of hate crimes. We have a link to the vote and text of S. 937 at disabilityrightspa.org.
The House Committee on the Judiciary held a markup last week for the same hate crime-related bills. H.R. 1843, the COVID-19 Hate Crimes Act and H.R. 2383, the Jabara-Heyer No Hate Act.
H.R. 2383, the Jabara-Heyer No Hate Act tackles issues related to inaccurate and incomplete hate crime data. The legislation does this through grants to States and local governments to train and implement data collection. The Attorney General will also make grants available to create State-run hate crime reporting hotlines.
H.R. 1843, the COVID-19 Hate Crimes Act will provide guidance to State and local law enforcement to enhance online reporting and ensure online reporting is provided in multiple languages. The bill expands culturally competent and linguistically appropriate public education campaigns on the reporting and collection of hate crimes data. As importantly, the legislation directs the Department of Justice to facilitate the expedited review of COVID-19 hate crimes.
Last week, the Senate Committee on the Judiciary held a hearing on Jim Crow 2021: The Latest Assault on the Right to Vote. Among the panelists was The Honorable Stacy Abrams from Fair Fight Action in Atlanta. As we have discussed in previous #AdvocacyMatters segments, legislation has been introduced in most states across the country to change voting laws. This hearing looked at threats to voting from state legislation.
Accessibility to National Parks and Lands
The House Committee on Natural Resources Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations held a hearing on Tuesday, April 27, 2021, to examine the accessibility of national parks and lands for people with disabilities.
We have the link to the hearing at disabilityrightspa.org.
Congress is working hard to address critical issues facing people of color and people with disabilities. As advocates, it is important for us to keep up to date on the issues and follow the legislation moving through the U.S. House and Senate. You can do that by visiting our #AdvocacyMatters segment today at disabilityrightspa.org.
House Committee on the Judiciary
Senate Committee on the Judiciary
Accessibility and National Parks and Lands