22 October 2009

He Voted For You: Hate Crimes (Updated)

U.S. Sen. Jay Rockefeller, D-W.Va., helped send a measure to President Obama that The Associated Press describes as expanding the definition of a federal hate crime "to include crimes based on gender, sexual orientation, gender identity or disability."

Sen. Robert C. Byrd, D-W.Va., did not vote on the legislation, which passed 68-29 (see update below).

"To assure its passage after years of frustrated efforts, Democratic supporters attached the measure to a must-pass $680 billion defense policy bill," the article said. "Many Republicans, normally staunch supporters of defense bills, voted against the bill because of the hate crimes provision. "

Updated: U.S. Reps. Alan Mollohan, D-1st, and Nick Rahall, D-3rd, had earlier voted for the Local Law Enforcement Hate Crimes Prevention Act of 2009 while Rep. Shelley Moore Capito, R-2nd, opposed that measure.

All three helped the House approve the defense policy measure with the hate crimes language in 281-146 roll call earlier this month.

A spokesman for Byrd told The Charleston Gazette that "the senator supported the hate-crimes provisions of the defense bill," and that "Byrd had earlier voted to invoke cloture, or end debate, on the measure so it could proceed to final passage."

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