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New bill increasing fines for hate crimes passes Assembly committee

The new bill would not only increase fines for hate crimes, but put a portion of the fines into a trust to fund programs on racial or ethnic sensitivity.
Credit: Giacomo Luca
Organizers of the Southside Park rally with the Sacramento AAPI Coalition, are planning more rallies in the future including a march to the capitol.

SACRAMENTO, Calif. — A new bill that would increase the fines for hate crimes passed committee on Tuesday.

The bill would not only increase the fines for someone charged with a hate crime, but the fines would also fund civil rights programs and training for "racial or ethnic sensitivity."

The bill was created because of the rise in hate crimes against the Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) community due to the COVID-19 pandemic. According to the Stop AAPI Hate coalition, around 3,800 hate crimes have happened against the AAPI community from March 2020 to February 2021 across the United States. Nearly half of those incidents happened in California alone.

“AAPI Community members in my district, and across the state, have been the targets of assault, harassment, and vandalism at the hands of people motivated by hate,” Assemblymember Ed Chau, who authored the bill, said. “It is therefore important that we strengthen state law by increasing criminal fines against those committing these horrendous acts and using those funds for programs to educate and increase tolerance.”

The new bill, AB 28, would increase the fines for misdemeanor and felony hate crimes by $2,500, which raises them to $7,500 and $12,500 respectively. It would also require $2,500 of any fine for a hate crime to be put into a fund for the racial or ethnic sensitivity programs and training.

The bill passed the Assembly Committee on Public Safety and will be introduced to the Assembly next.

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