Hate crime bill passes through Illinois House

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. - A bill tackling a recent increase in hate crimes is on its way to becoming law. The bill would broaden the definition of a hate crime and protect people from harmful attacks on any platform.

The legislation passed the House by an 89 - 22 vote and will now be considered in the Senate. Cyberstalking, acts of intimidation, or transmission of obscene messages would be considered hate crimes.

This can include messages sent by phone or electronic devices. If prosecuted, judges can impose a civil penalty of $25,000.

Attorney General Lisa Madigan says she initiated the legislation after seeing the rise of hate crimes across the nation last year.

Chicago Police Department data showed hate crimes reached a five-year high and the Anti Defamation League revealed there's been an 85% increase in anti-Semitic incidents since last year

If passed, the Attorney General will have the right to enforce these laws making Illinois the seventh state to give the Attorney General this power.

In March, Governor Bruce Rauner launched his own initiative requiring Illinois State Police have more hate crime training.

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