EAST ST. LOUIS, Ill. – A new law scheduled to take effect on Jan. 1 and supported by state Rep. LaToya Greenwood, D-East St. Louis, will aim at curbing hate crimes at places of worship.
“We need to take hate crimes seriously, and this measure will ensure that individuals who commit such crimes are punished appropriately,” Greenwood said. “Nobody should live in fear of being targeted because of their religion.”
The Greenwood-backed House Bill 2390 expands the definition of hate crimes to include acts of vandalism on the exterior and grounds of churches, synagogues, mosques and other places of worship. Additionally, it modifies the penalties associated with the crime, including requiring those convicted to receive educational training and to perform community service hours within the county where an incident occurred. Restrictions on reimbursement costs for damage have also been removed, and parents and legal guardians would be subject to damage committed by minors.
“Sadly, it seems that hateful rhetoric has become more commonplace in our country in recent years,” Greenwood said. “I don’t believe such negative rhetoric is reflective of the people in Illinois and in our community. Updating laws such as this one sends a clear message that our state and our community are welcoming to people of all faiths.”