From the Office of State Senator Royce West - District 23

For Immediate Release
Thursday, May 3, 2001

Senator West Says It's Time To Pass A Hate Crimes Law

AUSTIN - Dallas State Senator Royce West says the time has come for the Texas Legislature to pass laws that would prohibit Hate Crimes in this state.

"It is urgent that the Texas Senate come together, put aside all differences, and pass legislation that will say to those who continue to perpetrate heinous deeds, that acts of hate will not be tolerated in the State of Texas," said Senator West. "I call for those senators who share these beliefs to stand beside my Senate colleague Rodney Ellis and support Senate Bill 87 and House Bill 587."

This comes the day after the St. Luke "Community" United Methodist Church in Dallas was victimized by vandals who painted swastikas on the church that is attended by State Representative Helen Giddings, Dallas Mayor Ron Kirk, and Dallas County Commissioner John Wiley Price. St. Luke "Community" United Methodist Church is pastored by Rev. Dr. Zan Holmes Jr., a former State Representative from Dallas.

"The time has passed to engage in politics that do not consider the suffering endured by those who have been victimized by Hate Crimes in this state," said Senator West. "We as a legislative body can no longer be content with devising reasons as to why this proposed legislation will not work. Legal scholars around this state have testified that the current Texas Hate Crimes statute has proven too vague to be an effective instrument of law enforcement."

To date, State Senator Rodney Ellis has not garnered the votes necessary to bring Senate Bill 87 to the floor for debate. After lengthy testimony, House Bill 587 by Rep. Senfronia Thompson passed the Senate Criminal Justice Committee late May 2, 2001.

Today, in the both the Texas Senate and Texas House of Representatives, lawmakers from both Chambers joined Senator West and Representative Giddings in deploring the malicious act that took place in Dallas May 2, 2001, and the failure of Texas to pass enhanced Hate Crimes legislation.

Note: There are photographs available specific to this event.

For more information, please call Kelvin Bass at 512-463-0123, in Senator West's office.

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