An update on the Local Law Enforcement Hate Crimes Prevention Act, which passed the House on April 29 by 249-175. The Senate vote expected yesterday and amended to an unrelated tourism bill has been postponed. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid is reportedly "committed" to a Senate vote before lawmakers leave for August recess, the Washington Blade reports. In the meantime, Attorney General Eric Holder has been called to testify a week from today.
Holder said Wednesday during a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing that he supports hate crimes legislation, according to a transcript of his remarks. When asked whether he believes the measure is a good tool for investigators and prosecutors, Holder replied, "absolutely."
The attorney general invoked the shootings at the Holocaust Memorial Museum earlier this month and other recent acts of violence as reasons to pass the legislation. "If there was ever a doubt about the need for this legislation, I think that has been pretty much done away with by the events that we've seen in our nation here in Washington, D.C." and elsewhere, he said.
The Blade reports Alabama's conservative, anti-gay Republican Sen. Jeff Sessions requested the hearing.
This week's scheduled vote was quickly announced earlier this week amidst the growing gay discontent over that inflammatory Justice Department motion to dismiss a challenge to the Defense of Marriage Act. No official explanation why the vote has been mysteriously postponed.