HAF Supports Series of Bills to Make California Communities Safer

Sacramento, CA (March 22, 2019) — The Hindu American Foundation (HAF) was honored to support a series of bills in the California state legislature the past two weeks that would make all communities safer through strengthened hate crimes protections, and better protecting places of worship and schools from threats of violence.

Specifically, AB 300 Hate crime and incident reporting will improve accuracy in reporting of hate crimes and incidents, while AB 1052 Peace officer training: hate crimes will require peace officers to undergo comprehensive training on hate crimes to better identify and respond to hate crimes. Both bills were introduced by Assembly Member Kansen Chu (D-25) in response to a recent spike in hate crimes in California and a California State Auditor report that found that law enforcement agencies have not adequately identified, reported or responded to hate crimes. HAF for years has been actively working with the Department of Justice, law enforcement, and legislators in California and across the country to track and address bias motivated attacks on Hindus and other religious and ethnic minorities.

Furthermore, AB 907 Threats: schools and places of worship, introduced by Assembly Member Timothy S. Grayson (D-14), will remove significant barriers for law enforcement to pursue a criminal prosecution of individuals who threaten a school or place of worship. Violent incidents and threats of violence at schools and places of worship have significantly increased in recent years. Just last year, HAF sent a letter urging passage of S. 994, the Protecting Religiously-Affiliated Institutions Act of 2017, which made threats against religious institutions a Federal crime and imposed criminal penalties for causing damage or destruction to religious property.

“We applaud Assembly Members Chu and Grayson for introducing these bills and we’re proud to lend our support to such crucial legislation that will enhance protections for Californians of all backgrounds,” said Samir Kalra, HAF Managing Director.

All three bills are currently pending at various committees of jurisdiction in the California State Assembly. Stay tuned for more updates as these important bills progress through the legislative process in the Assembly and Senate.