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Anti-Asian hate bill clears Senate

covid-19 hate crimes act

(ABC NEWS/WSIL) -- The Senate voted 94-1 in favor of an amended bill aimed at combatting the rise in anti-Asian hate crimes.

The lone vote in opposition was Missouri Senator Josh Hawley.

According to ABC News, the legislation takes relatively modest steps to equip law enforcement and communities to better deal with the rise in attacks against Asian American and Pacific Islanders.

The bill would 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. It also creates a new position at the Justice Department to expedite reviews of potential Covid-19-related hate crimes.

The bill came forward following the shooting of eight people, including six Asian women, at several spas in the Atlanta area last month.

It now goes to the House before being signed into law by President Joe Biden. The President has urged Congress to swiftly pass legislation.

U.S. Senator Tammy Duckworth (D-Illinois) praised the passage Thursday saying in a statement, "It is long past time to break the cycle of discrimination against Asian Americans and I will continue working to make this legislation law.”

U.S. Senator Dick Durbin (D-Illinois) also voted in support of the bill saying, " I hope today’s action will create bipartisan momentum to further address the broad threats of hate crimes and domestic terrorism.”

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