SPRINGFIELD, Ill. – Legislation backed by state Rep. Larry Walsh, D-Joliet, to crack down on hate crimes against houses of worship and increases penalties for those convicted of committing hate crimes was recently signed into law.
“Hate has no place in our country and those who commit these horrific crimes must be brought to justice,” Walsh said. “This legislation will ensure our religious centers are protected and makes it easier for victims of hate crimes to receive financial compensation.”
Responding to incidents of vandalism and racist graffiti targeting houses of worship throughout Illinois, Walsh helped pass House Bill 2390 to allow police and prosecutors the ability to charge criminals who target religious institutes with a hate crime. This measure also requires community service ordered following a conviction must be performed in the county where the offender was convicted of the crime. Individuals convicted of committing hate crimes must attend in-person educational classes focused on discouraging hate crimes against the targeted group.
House Bill 2390 also gives judges the ability to determine a fair financial amount based on the severity of the crime and damages suffered by the victim or house of worship. Parents and legal guardians would also be financially responsible for crimes committed by minors
Walsh also recently cosponsored House Resolution 569, which condemns white supremacists, neo-Nazis, the Ku Klux Klan, and any other group that espouses hate and seeks to undermine the ideals of Illinois and the nation. It also mourns the death of Heather Heyer who was killed when a white supremacist drove his car into a group of people protesting against hate and the deaths of Virginia state troopers Lt. H. Jay Cullen and Trooper Berke M. M. Bates, whose helicopter crashed in the area.
“We are not born with hate in our hearts, we learn it, and the only way to eliminate hate is by increasing education and awareness,” Walsh said. “This measure will require those convicted of hate crimes to attend education classes about the group they targeted in the hopes of helping eliminate their hateful views.”