SPRINGFIELD, Ill. – A new law sponsored by state Rep. Stephanie Kifowit, D-Oswego, to crack down on hate crimes against houses of worship and increase penalties for those convicted of committing hate crimes will take effect Jan. 1, 2018.

“I believe now more than ever it is important we send a message that we stand with all people regardless of their faith or background,” Kifowit said. “My new law will help ensure those who commit these appalling crimes are held responsible for their actions.”

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 institutions 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 new law 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.

“Another important part of this new law is requiring individuals who commit hate crimes to complete education courses,” Kifowit said. “Hate is not something we are born with, it is something individuals are taught, so the only way to stop hate is through teaching tolerance.”

Rep Stephanie KifowitRep Stephanie Kifowit

84th District

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