Alderman Pat Dowell, Chairman of the Committee on Human Relations, together with colleagues introduced a Resolution, at the May 24, 2017 City Council, to urge the Governor to restore the Illinois State Hate Crimes Commission and for lawmakers to pass House Bill 3711. HB 3711 strengthens the Illinois Hate Crimes Act by "expanding protections, provides civil enforcement authority to Attorney General, ensures hate crime victims are afforded a civil remedy, and allows for a civil penalty of up to $25,000 for each case to be imposed."
The resolution was recommended at the Hate Crime Hearing, convened by Chairman Pat Dowell, on April 26, 2017. Testimony from several community-based and governmental organizations brought to light that Governor Bruce Rauner has not yet filled the twenty vacant positions on the Illinois State Commission on Discrimination and Hate Crimes.
The resolution will be heard before the Committee on Human Relations on June 19, 2017 at 10:00 a.m. in City Hall — Council Chamber. The Committee on Human Relations will invite the Governor's Office and State lawmakers to testify before the City Council and disclose their steps toward seeking protections and remedies for hate crime victims.
With an alarming citywide rise in hate crimes in 2016, the resolution is an example of Chairman Dowell's leadership to stand up for hate crime victims by working to strengthen protections and legislation.
Alderman Dowell states, "I believe as a City and State, we need to take aggressive action to help any person who has been a victim of a hate crime and to stand firm that we do not tolerate hateful and unlawful acts against any individual. We must do all we can to reverse the troublesome upward trend of hate crimes in the State of Illinois and the City of Chicago."
R E S O L U T I O N
WHEREAS, The City of Chicago is home to a diverse range of persons of various national origin, ability, sexual orientation, gender identity, and ethnic, racial, and religious backgrounds; and
WHEREAS, Hate crimes against such persons and communities in the City have risen at an alarming rate of twenty percent in 2016, reaching the highest frequency in five years; and
WHEREAS, The City seeks to protect the lives and property of its residents in its own capacity and by promoting the safety of those groups throughout our State and our Nation; and
WHEREAS, The increase in hate crimes must be addressed through a statewide, multifaceted approach; and
WHEREAS, An active Illinois State Commission on Discrimination and Hate Crimes serves an important role in combatting these discriminatory, unlawful acts; and
WHEREAS, Governor Rauner has not yet appointed persons to fill the twenty vacant positions required for a fully functioning Commission; and
WHEREAS, The restoration of the Commission is vital in bringing community leaders and advocates together to work toward solutions to reverse the troublesome trend of hate crimes in the State of Illinois and the City; and
WHEREAS, Legislation strengthening the current hate crimes law has been introduced in the State of Illinois 100th General Assembly, in the form of House Bill 3711; and
WHEREAS, House Bill 3711 expands the reach of protection from hate crimes, provides the Attorney General with civil enforcement authority, ensures all victims of hate crimes a civil remedy, and allows judges to impose civil penalties, bolstering the effect of the Illinois Hate Crimes Act; and
WHEREAS, This legislative effort provides adequate protection and appropriate remedies for victims, while creating measures to deter the engagement in such acts, which furthers the mission of decreasing incidences of hate crimes; and
WHEREAS, The restoration of the Commission and passage of House Bill 3711 are necessary steps toward ensuring the welfare and safety of marginalized groups and the security of all residents of the City; now, therefore,
BE IT RESOLVED, That we, the Mayor and Members of the City Council of the City of Chicago, assembled this twenty-fourth day of May, 2017, do hereby urge the Governor to restore the Illinois State Hate Crimes Commission and lawmakers to pass House Bill 3711 to strengthen Illinois' hate crimes law; and
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, That suitable copies of this resolution be delivered to the Governor of the State of Illinois, the President of the Illinois Senate, the Minority Leader of the Illinois Senate, the Speaker of the Illinois House of Representatives, and the Minority Leader of the Illinois House of Representatives.