As hate crimes in New Jersey continue to rise, the full Assembly voted 79-0 on Monday unanimously advancing legislation (A-863) that would require the New Jersey Attorney General to report bias intimidation offenses to the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) for inclusion in their annual report on hate crimes.
Under current New Jersey law, a person is guilty of a bias intimidation crime if they commit, attempt to commit, conspire with another to commit, or threaten the immediate commission of an offense intended to intimidate an individual or group of individuals because of race, color, religion, gender, disability, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, national origin, or ethnicity.
Sponsors of the bill released the following statements:
Assemblyman Nicholas Chiaravalloti (D-Hudson): “By requiring the Attorney General to add bias intimidation statistics to those currently reported to the FBI, this bill simply seeks to expand the pool of data available for analysis. In doing so, we hope to develop a clearer, more comprehensive picture of how deeply violence is permeating our communities.”
Assemblyman Gordon Johnson (D-Bergen): “For too many residents, the fear of becoming victim to a bias crime is a daily one. Under this measure, we hope to address some of the shortcomings of data reporting to better equip law enforcement agencies to protect people and to tackle the rampant culture of violent intolerance that persists.”
Assemblywoman Carol Murphy (D-Burlington): “The number of crimes motivated by bias and hate all across the country are vastly under-reported, especially when it comes to the targeting of people within the disabled and LGBTQ communities. Providing this additional data to the FBI would ensure New Jersey does its due diligence to help understand the true scope of the problem at the national level.”