March 28, 2019

Harris, Colleagues Introduce Stop HATE Act

Senators Introduce Stop HATE Legislation, Calling Out Role Of The Internet In Inciting Violence 

WASHINGTON, D.C. - U.S. Senator Kamala D. Harris on Thursday joined Senator Bob Casey (D-PA) in introducing a measure that aims to prevent online extremism from turning into real-life hate crimes. Harris and Casey are joined in this effort by Senators Booker (D-NJ), Jones (D-AL), Klobuchar (D-MN), Menendez (D-NJ), Sanders (I-VT) and Van Hollen (D-MD).

“Hate is real in this country. The tragedies in New Zealand, Pittsburgh, and communities around the world underscore the urgent need for decisive action to curb the continuing rise of hate crimes here in America,” said Harris. “The Stop HATE Act would require a serious study of the role the internet plays in fostering hate speech and influencing people to commit hate crimes. We cannot allow these horrific incidents to continue.”

Following the shootings at two mosques in New Zealand, the massacre at Tree of Life Synagogue in Pittsburgh, and the violent gathering of white supremacists in Charlottesville, it has become clear that online platforms are being used to spread hateful rhetoric and incite real-life violence. The Stop HATE Act would require the Departments of Commerce and Justice to study how current forms of telecommunication are being used to fuel violence and hate crimes against individuals or groups, and recommend ways—consistent with the First Amendment—that the government or private citizens can combat these growing threats. A previous version of this report (found here) was released in 1993 but has not been updated in over 25 years.

A copy of the legislation can be found here.