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Hate Crimes Bill Approved by Committee; Abortion-Related Amendments Defeated

On April 23, the House Judiciary Committee approved, 15-12, the Local Law Enforcement Hate Crimes Prevention Act of 2009 (H.R. 1913). The bill would amend existing hate crime law (18 U.S.C. Sec. 45 and 28 U.S.C. Sec. 994) to include gun- or bomb-related crimes that are motivated by gender, gender identity, or sexual orientation. Such crimes would be punishable by a sentence of up to 10 years in prison; crimes involving kidnapping, homicide, or sexual abuse could receive a maximum sentence of life imprisonment.

During debate on the measure, the committee rejected the following amendments:

  • an amendment by Rep. Bob Goodlatte (R-VA) to add pregnant women to the list of groups classified as victims of hate crimes, 9-13; and
  • an amendment by Rep. Steve King (R-IA) to replace “gender” with “sex“ throughout the bill and strike the term “gender identity,” 10-16.

An amendment by Rep. Jim Jordan (R-OH) to add “unborn children” to the protected groups was ruled not germane by Chair John Conyers (D-MI). Rep. Jordan appealed the ruling of the chair and the committee voted, 14-10, to table the appeal, effectively killing his amendment.

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