La. federal legislators weigh in on hate crimes, bias incidents

Updated: Jul. 9, 2019 at 6:47 PM CDT
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BATON ROUGE, La. (WAFB) - WAFB reached out to members of Louisiana’s federal delegation, requesting they elaborate on legislation they’ve sponsored to tackle hate crimes nationally and in the state.

Additionally, lawmakers were asked if increases in hate incidents were an issue members of Congress should address, and what specifically they think should be done.

These responses were gathered as part of a collaborative effort with ProPublica’s Documenting Hate project, which aims to learn what members of Congress really think about hate incidents, bias, and brutality beyond offering thoughts and prayers, and whether they plan to do anything about them.

Responses will be added as they come in.

Congressman Cedric Richmond - Louisiana’s 2nd Congressional District:

“[Congressman Richmond] believes that hate crimes are a problem everywhere and, of course, in Louisiana as showcased by the recent burning of three Black churches among other tragic events targeting African Americans. He believes it is the responsibility of Congress to counter hate crimes in his district, greater Louisiana, and nationwide.

Congressman Richmond has widely condemned hate crimes and white supremacy, including standing up for Hurricane Katrina victims after Rep. Steve King belittled them. In addition, the Congressman teamed up with Rep. Jamie Raskin in introducing a House resolution condemning anti-Semitism, anti-Muslim bigotry, and all forms of racism. He also participated in the House Judiciary Committee haring on the rise of hate crimes and white nationalism.”

Congressman Richmond provided the following links to support his statement:

Senator Bill Cassidy - United States Senator for Louisiana

A spokesman for Bill Cassidy released the following statement on his behalf:

“Cassidy believes any hate crime is a problem anywhere. Congress has already passed laws addressing, and giving stiffer penalties for, hate crimes involving race, religion, disability, sexual orientation, ethnicity, gender, or gender identity. Now it is up to enforcement.”

Congressman Steve Scalise - Louisiana’s 1st Congressional District:

“Violent attacks in our communities are never acceptable, but it’s especially painful when these attacks are motivated by prejudice. I will always call for justice to be served in the face of such attacks and it’s important that all of us take a stand against violence and hate in our communities.

The recent church burnings in St. Landry Parish made it clear that our work to combat prejudice and racism continues. After visiting the churches personally, it was heartbreaking to see the effect of religious hate and racism in our state, but the resilience and faith of these communities gives me confidence in all of our ability to unite and rise above such hatred to create a stronger Louisiana.”

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