Legislation To Increase Hate Crime Penalties Passes Committee

For immediate release:

SACRAMENTO – Yesterday, the Assembly Committee on Public Safety approved AB 28, authored by Assemblymember Ed Chau (D–Monterey Park), which would increase the fines for hate crime to fund programs on racial or ethnic sensitivity, or other similar training in the area of civil rights.  

“AAPI Community members in my district, and across the state, have been the targets of assault, harassment, and vandalism at the hands of people motivated by hate,” said Assemblymember Ed Chau. “It is therefore important that we strengthen state law by increasing criminal fines against those committing these horrendous acts and using those funds for programs to educate and increase tolerance.”  

Since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, hate crimes against the Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) community have risen significantly across the country. In fact, the sixteen largest cities nationwide saw an increase in hate crimes of 150% between 2019 and 2020.  According to the Stop AAPI Hate coalition, nearly 3,800 hate incidents occurred across the United States against the AAPI community between March 2020 and February 2021, including nearly 1,700 incidents in California. This is partly attributed to the use of terms, like “China Virus” and “Kung Flu” to describe COVID-19, which have resulted in acts of violence and racism against Asian Americans.

Specifically, AB 28 increases the fines for a misdemeanor or felony hate crime by $2,500 each, raising them to $7,500 and $12,500 respectively. It would also require up to $2,500 of any fines received to be placed in the Trial Court Trust Fund to fund classes or programs on racial or ethnic sensitivity, or other similar training in the area of civil rights.