SPRINGFIELD, Ill. – Legislation sponsored by state Rep. Stephanie Kifowit, D-Oswego, to crack down on hate crimes against houses of worship and increases penalties for those convicted of committing hate crimes was signed into law on Tuesday.

“With the appalling attack in Charlottesville still fresh in our minds, I think this new law is a positive step to ensure our communities remain welcoming places for people of all faiths and all backgrounds,” Kifowit said. “My measure makes it easier for victims of hate crimes receive the justice they deserve and better protects religious institutions.”

Responding to incidents of vandalism and racist graffiti targeting houses of worship throughout Illinois, Kifowit’s House Bill 2390 allows police and prosecutors to charge criminals who target religious institutes with a hate crime. Her 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.

Kifowit’s bill also gives judges the ability to determine a fair financial amount based on the severity of the crime and damages suffered by the victim. Parents and legal guardians would also be financially responsible for crimes committed by minors

Kifowit 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.

“A key part of this new law requires those convicted of hate crimes to attend anti-discrimination education classes, because the only true way to stop hate crimes is by teaching these individuals that their hateful views are founded in misinformation and these views can often lead to hateful actions,” Kifowit said. “I believe this is an important step towards combating hate and I look forward to working with my colleagues on finding ways to reduce and eliminate hate crimes in Illinois.”

Rep Stephanie KifowitRep Stephanie Kifowit

84th District

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