Miami-Dade Legislative Item
File Number: 080035
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File Number: 080035 File Type: Resolution Status: Adopted
Version: 0 Reference: R-131-08 Control: Board of County Commissioners
File Name: URGING CONGRESS TO STRENGTHEN HATE CRIME LAWS Introduced: 1/3/2008
Requester: NONE Cost: Final Action: 2/5/2008
Agenda Date: 2/5/2008 Agenda Item Number: 11A18
Notes: Title: RESOLUTION URGING THE U.S. CONGRESS AND THE FLORIDA LEGISLATURE TO STRENGTHEN HATE CRIME LAWS TO PROVIDE THAT INTENTIONALLY EXPOSING A PERSON TO HANGING NOOSES OR OTHER OBJECTS OR SYMBOLS EVIDENCING PREJUDICE CREATES A PRESUMPTION OF A HATE CRIME, IN LIGHT OF RECENT EVENTS IN JENA, LOUISIANA [SEE ORIGINAL ITEM UNDER FILE NO. 073485]
Indexes: HATE CRIME
  U.S. CONGRESS
Sponsors: Barbara J. Jordan, Prime Sponsor
  Dennis C. Moss, Co-Sponsor
  Dorrin D. Rolle, Co-Sponsor
  Natacha Seijas, Co-Sponsor
  Audrey M. Edmonson, Co-Sponsor
Sunset Provision: No Effective Date: Expiration Date:
Registered Lobbyist: None Listed


Legislative History

Acting Body Date Agenda Item Action Sent To Due Date Returned Pass/Fail

Board of County Commissioners 2/5/2008 11A18 Adopted P

Budget and Finance Committee 1/28/2008 2F SUBSTITUTE Forwarded to the BCC by the BCC Chairperson with a favorable recommendation P
REPORT: Assistant County Attorney Jess McCarty read the foregoing proposed resolution into the record. Commissioner Jordan pointed out she was interviewed regarding a recent hate crime in Miami. She emphasized the apparent escalation in the occurrence of hate related incidents, and the significance of the noose to the black community. She clarified that this proposed resolution would urge the United States Senate to include the hanging noose in Senate Bill 768. It was moved by Commissioner Sosa that this proposed resolution be forwarded to the County Commission with a favorable recommendation. This motion was seconded by Commissioner Sorenson. Commissioner Sorenson pointed out the presence of a hanging noose would be evidence of a hate crime only if a crime was committed. Hearing no other questions or comments, the Committee proceeded to vote. Chairman Martinez noted he would prepare a memorandum that asked Chairman Barreiro to waive the Board's Rules and Procedures to allow this proposed resolution to be considered at the February 5, 2008, County Commission meeting.

County Attorney 1/3/2008 Assigned Budget and Finance Committee 1/15/2008

County Attorney 1/3/2008 Assigned Jess M. McCarty

Legislative Text


TITLE
RESOLUTION URGING THE U.S. CONGRESS AND THE FLORIDA LEGISLATURE TO STRENGTHEN HATE CRIME LAWS TO PROVIDE THAT INTENTIONALLY EXPOSING A PERSON TO HANGING NOOSES OR OTHER OBJECTS OR SYMBOLS EVIDENCING PREJUDICE CREATES A PRESUMPTION OF A HATE CRIME, IN LIGHT OF RECENT EVENTS IN JENA, LOUISIANA

BODY
WHEREAS, school officials told the student that black students were allowed to sit there, but the next day nooses were found hanging from the tree; and
WHEREAS, incidents similar to the Jena incident recently have been reported at schools in College Park, Maryland and Columbia, South Carolina; and on Columbia University's campus in New York City; and
WHEREAS, these incidents suggest that there are still instances in which this nation is fighting old demons of hatred and prejudice, even among people too young to remember the civil rights era and Jim Crow laws; and
WHEREAS, in Wisconsin v. Mitchell, 508 U.S. 476 (1993), the U.S. Supreme Court unanimously upheld the constitutionality of hate crime laws, effectively removing any doubt that state legislatures have the authority to increase the penalties for criminal activity in which a person is intentionally targeted for a crime as based on the person's personal characteristics; and
WHEREAS, there is currently a federal hate crime law, but it is limited in scope and requires as an element of the crime that the victim of a bias-motivated crime be attacked because he or she was engaging in a particular federally-protected activity, such as serving on a jury or attending public school; and
WHEREAS, on May 3, 2007, the U.S. House or Representative by a vote of 237-180 passed and sent to the Senate for consideration, H.R. 1592, the Local Law Enforcement Hate Crimes Prevention Act (LLEHCPA); and
WHEREAS, the LLEHCPA would strengthen federal hate crime laws by (i) eliminating the requirement that a victim of a bias-motivated crime was attacked because he or she was engaged in a particular federally-protected activity, (ii) authorizing the Department of Justice to investigate and prosecute in a broader range of hate crime cases, (iii) providing federal assistance and resources to state and local law enforcement to address hate crimes, and (iv) providing a new data collection requirement for crimes committed by and directed against juveniles; and
WHEREAS, on September 27, 2007, the U.S. Senate added the LLEHCPA as an amendment to its version of the Department of Defense Authorization legislation; and
WHEREAS, Representative Geraldine F. “Geri” Thompson has filed a bill in the Florida House of Representatives, HB 307, which provides that intentional exposure of victims to hanging nooses and other objects or symbols in the course of an offense creates a presumption that the offense evidences prejudice; and
WHEREAS, Senator Larcenia Bullard has filed a bill in the Florida Senate, SB 768, which prohibits a person, with intent to intimidate or harass another person, from placing a noose in a public place, on the property of another without written permission of the owner or occupant, or in an exhibit; and
WHEREAS, hate crime laws at both the state and federal levels should be strengthened to provide that the intentional exposure of a person to hanging nooses and other objects or symbols that evidence prejudice creates a presumption of a hate crime,
NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED BY THE BOARD OF COUNTY COMMISSIONERS OF MIAMI-DADE COUNTY, FLORIDA, that in light of the recent events in Jena, Louisiana, this Board:
Section 1. Urges the U.S. Congress to strengthen federal hate crime laws so as to provide that the intentional exposure of a person to hanging nooses or other objects or symbols evidencing prejudice creates a presumption of a hate crime.
Section 2. Urges the U.S. Congress to pass the Local Law Enforcement Hate Crimes Prevention Act of 2007, or similar legislation.
Section 3. Urges the Florida Legislature to pass HB 307, which provides that the intentional exposure of a person to hanging nooses and other objects or symbols in the course of a crime creates a presumption that the crime evidences prejudice, or similar legislation.
Section 4. Urges the Florida Legislature to pass SB 768, which prohibits a person, with intent to intimidate or harass another person, from placing a noose in a public place, on the property of another without written permission of the owner or occupant, or in an exhibit, or similar legislation.
Section 5. Directs the Clerk of the Board to transmit copies of this resolution to the Florida Congressional Delegation, the Governor, Senate President, House Speaker, Senator Larcenia Bullard, the Chair and Members of the Miami-Dade County State Legislative Delegation, and Representative Geraldine F. "Geri" Thompson.
Section 6. Directs the County's federal and state lobbying teams to advocate for the passage of the legislation set forth in Sections 1, 2, 3 and 4 above; and directs the Office of Intergovernmental Affairs to include this item in the 2008 Federal and State Legislative Packages.

Approved by County Attorney as
to form and legal sufficiency. _______

Jess M. McCarty
Agenda Item No.
Page No. 4


Approved Mayor Agenda Item No.
Veto __________ 2-5-08
Override __________



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