Statement of Senator Lamar Alexander on Hate Crimes Legislation Votes

Votes for Hatch Measure to Help State Prosecution of Hate Crimes, But Says Kennedy Amendment Goes Too Far

Posted on September 27, 2007

U.S. Senator Lamar Alexander, R-Tenn., issued the following statement today after voting for an amendment by Senator Orrin Hatch, R- Utah, and against an amendment offered by U.S. Senator Edward Kennedy, D-Mass., to the Defense Authorization bill: “Tennessee already has its own state law allowing for more severe sentencing for crimes based on a victim's race, religion, color, disability, sexual orientation, national origin, ancestry, or gender. Therefore, I supported the Hatch amendment because it provides federal assistance to state and local authorities to enforce their own laws while providing for a study to help determine what the proper federal role is in this area. This new version of the Kennedy amendment goes further than versions previously considered by the Senate.” Alexander voted for an amendment offered by Hatch that would assist states combating hate crimes. That amendment would provide federal criminal investigation and prosecution assistance as well as federal grants of up to $100,000 to states lacking the resources needed to fully investigate these crimes. The Hatch amendment would also commission a comprehensive analysis and report on hate crimes to Congress. The Kennedy amendment passed by voice vote after the Senate voted 60-39 to invoke cloture (to cut off debate and proceed to an up-or-down vote) on the amendment. The Hatch amendment passed the Senate by a 96 to 3 vote.