© 2022 Maine Public
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
Available On Air Stations

Susan Collins Says She Helped Strengthen Asian American Hate Crime Bill Before Senate On Wednesday

Susan Collins
J. Scott Applewhite
Sen. Susan Collins, R-Maine, pauses for a reporter as senators head to the chamber for a procedural vote on the nomination of Shalanda Young to be deputy director of the Office of Management and Budget, at the Capitol in Washington, Tuesday, March 23, 2021.

The U.S. Senate will vote Wednesday on a bill intended to address a rise in hate crimes against Asian Americans.

Sponsored by U.S. Sen. Mazie Hirono of Hawaii and U.S. Rep. Grace Meng of New York, the bill would give local law enforcement more resources to respond to the violence.

U.S Sen. Susan Collins of Maine says she's been working with Hirono over the past week to strengthen the bill before a final vote is taken.

"There were some drafting issues with the bill that would have made it a requirement of proving that the hate crime — that it somehow be related to COVID and that didn't make sense to me," she says.

Collins says the additional burden should not be required to prove that a hate crime has been committed. She says Congress needs to send a strong, clear message that attacks on Asian Americans are unacceptable in any form and expects the bill to do that once it is passed.

The bill will also make it easier for the federal government to track hate incidents.

The Center for the Study of Hate and Extremism released a study last month that found anti-Asian hate crimes rose by nearly 150% last year in 16 of the largest U.S. cities.