CHICAGO – Victims of hate crimes will now be able to seek greater financial compensation from their assailants thanks to a new law sponsored by state Rep. Sonya Harper, D-Chicago, which takes effect Jan. 1.

“With the divisive rhetoric coming from Donald Trump and his extreme allies towards people of different faiths, it is more important now than ever before to maintain strong communal ties and not give into hate,” Harper said. “This new law establishes penalties for people who decide to take violent action against people simply because of their faiths and beliefs.”

Harper’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.

Harper’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.

“While extremists continue dividing people against each other, I am not going to let hate dictate my life,” Harper said. “People are taught hate over time, and it is time we stand together and do what’s right by fighting back against it and learn to love one another.”

Rep Sonya HarperRep Sonya Harper

6th District

Visit Rep Harper’s website

Springfield Office:
276-S Stratton Office Building
Springfield, IL   62706
(217) 782-5971
(217) 558-6370 FAX

District Office:
4926 South Ashland
Chicago, IL  60609
(773) 925-6580
(773) 925-6584 FAX