WASHINGTON, April 22 (KUNA) -- The US Senate overwhelmingly passed legislation Thursday designed to more forcefully investigate hate crimes, particularly those against Asian Americans following the March 16 shootings at three Atlanta spas and a wave of violence following the spread of the coronavirus from China last year.
"The vote today on the anti-Asian hate crimes bill is proof that when the Senate is given an opportunity to work, the Senate can work to solve important issues," Senate Majority Leader Charles E. Schumer (D-N.Y.) said ahead of the vote.
The vote was 94 to 1. Sen. Josh Hawley (R-Mo.) was lone no vote.
Sen. Maize Hirono (D-Hawaii) introduced the bill last month, officially titled the "COVID19 Hate Crimes Act," based on a year's worth of rising attacks following the pandemic coming out of Wuhan, China.
Five days after Hirono introduced the legislation, eight people were killed, including six women of Asian descent, in mass shootings at three Atlanta spas.
The crime heightened the pressure on Congress to respond to the rise in attacks against the Asian American community.
The legislation would assign an official in the Justice Department to review and expedite all reports of hate crimes related to the coronavirus, expand support for local and state law enforcement agencies responding to these hate crimes, and issue guidance on mitigating the use of racially discriminatory language to describe the pandemic. (end)