Statement On S. 937 COVID-19 Hate Crimes Act

For Immediate Release: Date: April 22, 2021

Contact: Priya Purandare, Executive Director

Today, the United States Senate, in an overwhelmingly 94-1 bipartisan vote, passed S. 937, the “COVID-19 Hate Crimes Act” introduced by Senator Mazie Hirono (D-HI).  This legislation requires that the U.S. Department of Justice designate a point person whose sole responsibility is to facilitate the expedited review of hate crimes related to the COVID-19 pandemic. Notably, the legislation recognizes a “COVID-19 hate crime” as an act of violence motivated by the actual or perceived relationship to the spread of COVID-19 of any person based on their race, ethnicity, age, color, religion, national origin, sexual orientation, gender, gender identity, or disability. The Senate-passed legislation also incorporates the Jabara-Heyer No Hate Act which increases resources for hate crimes reporting and assistance for victims of hate crimes.

“NAPABA congratulates the Senate for passing this important legislation, and Senator Hirono for her leadership on this issue,” said NAPABA President A.B. Cruz III. “This bill squarely addresses one of the root causes of the increase in hate crimes and bias-motivated incidents being committed against the Asian American community – the dangerous rhetoric and falsehood that somehow Asian Americans are responsible for the COVID-pandemic. NAPABA is committed to ensuring justice for hate crimes and hate-motivated incidents committed against the Asian American community, and looks forward to swift passage in the House and enactment into the law.”

NAPABA believes this bill will help state and local law enforcement to better investigate and record hate crimes and hate incidents and prosecute them where appropriate. The legislation also requires the Department of Justice to issue guidance on establishing online hate crimes and hate incident reporting in multiple languages, and to work with the Department of Health and Human Services to issue guidance on best practices to mitigate discriminatory language in describing the COVID-19 pandemic.  In response to the surge in attacks against Asian Americans in the wake of the pandemic, NAPABA in partnership with the APIA Health Forum have produced a hate crimes reporting toolkit – translated into 25 languages and English – the single largest collection of different AAPI-language materials assembled, that provides basic and critical information for victims, community based organizations, and community leaders. 

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The National Asian Pacific American Bar Association (NAPABA) represents the interests of approximately 50,000 legal professionals and nearly 90 national, state, and local Asian Pacific American bar associations. NAPABA is a leader in addressing civil rights issues confronting Asian Pacific American communities. Through its national network, NAPABA provides a strong voice for increased diversity of the federal and state judiciaries, advocates for equal opportunity in the workplace, works to eliminate hate crimes and anti-immigrant sentiment, and promotes the professional development of people of color in the legal profession.

NAPABA CELEBRATES CONFIRMATION OF NORMAN C. BAY TO THE FEDERAL ENERGY REGULATORY COMMISSION

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                        
July 15, 2014
Contact: Azizah Ahmad
(202) 775-9555
                                                              

WASHINGTON – Today, the U.S. Senate confirmed Norman C. Bay to be Commissioner of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) by a vote of 52-45. He is the first Asian Pacific American to lead this powerful regulatory agency. Commissioner Bay is only the third Asian Pacific American to serve as head of a government department or agency during President Obama’s second term.

“Norman C. Bay is a dedicated public servant with the stellar credentials and professional background to be an outstanding leader of FERC. We are proud of Commissioner Bay, who is a longtime NAPABA member. We applaud him on his much deserved confirmation,” said William J. Simonitsch, president of the National Asian Pacific American Bar Association (NAPABA). “NAPABA thanks President Obama for nominating Commissioner Bay to lead FERC, and appointing well-qualified, diverse candidates to the bench and to positions in his Administration. More qualified people of color like Commissioner Bay need to be given the opportunity to lead.”

Prior to his confirmation, Commissioner Bay served as Director of the Office of Enforcement at FERC, where he received the FERC Chairman’s Medal in 2013. Before joining FERC, he was a Professor of Law at the University of New Mexico from 2002 to 2009. His career in academia was preceded by time in public service — Mr. Bay served as the U.S. Attorney for the district of New Mexico, and spent many years as an Assistant U.S. Attorney at the U.S. Department of Justice and also as an Attorney-Advisor at the U.S. Department of State. Commissioner Bay graduated from Dartmouth College summa cum laude and Harvard Law School cum laude. After law school, he clerked for the Honorable Otto R. Skopil, Jr., of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit in Portland, Oregon.

NAPABA thanks Senator Martin Heinrich of New Mexico and Senator Mazie Hirono of Hawaii for their strong support of Norman C. Bay’s nomination.

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The National Asian Pacific American Bar Association (NAPABA) is the national association of Asian Pacific American (APA) attorneys, judges, law professors, and law students. NAPABA represents the interests of over 40,000 attorneys and approximately 70 national, state, and local bar associations. Its members include solo practitioners, large firm lawyers, corporate counsel, legal services and non-profit attorneys, and lawyers serving at all levels of government. NAPABA engages in legislative and policy advocacy, promotes APA political leadership and political appointments, and builds coalitions within the legal profession and the community at large. NAPABA also serves as a resource for government agencies, members of Congress, and public service organizations about APAs in the legal profession, civil rights, and diversity in the courts.