COLUMBUS (WCMH) – Two state representatives are seeking to create a hate crimes bureau within the Ohio Attorney General’s office.
State Rep. Adam C. Miller (D-Columbus) and Rep. Casey Weinstein (D-Hudson) introduced legislation Tuesday in response to a recent rise of hate crimes in the state.
According to the legislation, the hate crime bureau would conduct investigations for hate crimes “when sufficient cause exists,” offering resources to local, state, and federal law enforcement.
In addition, the attorney general would be obligated to respond to every credible report and maintain a database of hate crimes in the state.
A statement announcing the legislation said according to the U.S. Justice Department, there were more than 7,100 hate crimes in the U.S. in 2019. The Anti-Defamation League says anti-Semitic incidents in Ohio have risen to a 40-year high in Ohio.
“We have to send a clear message that in Ohio, there is no place for hate,” Miller said in the statement. “This bill calls on the Attorney General to create a Hate Crimes Bureau to track hate crimes and to work with law enforcement across the state on enforcement and prevention efforts. No one should live in fear simply for who they are. This bill gives some of our most vulnerable citizens the protection they deserve.”
“As a Jewish legislator, I am keenly aware of the need for laws addressing hate crimes,” Weinstein said in the statement. “As the number of hateful incidents continues to rise, Ohio has the opportunity to lead. We can send a strong message of solidarity to at-risk communities by focusing resources not only on deterrence but prosecution of hate crimes.”
The legislation is currently awaiting a bill number and a referral to a House committee.