Posted on April 23, 2021

Josh Hawley Explains Why He Was Sole Vote Against Anti-Asian Hate Crime Bill

Darragh Roche, Newsweek, April 23, 2021

Senator Josh Hawley (R-MO) took to social media on Thursday to explain why he was the only senator to vote against a bill aimed at combatting hate crimes against Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders.

The bill, called the COVID-19 Hate Crimes Act, passed the Senate with overwhelming bipartisan support in a 94-1 vote.

Its lead sponsor Senator Mazie Hirono (D-HI), who was the first Asian American woman elected to the Senate, said the passage showed the Senate “rejects anti-Asian hate.”

Hawley took to Twitter to explain his vote, after being the lone holdout opposing passage through the upper chamber.

“My big problem with Sen Hirono’s bill that Senate voted on today is that it turns the federal government into the speech police – gives government sweeping authority to decide what counts as offensive speech and then monitor it,” Hawley wrote.


In a previous statement, he said: “It’s too broad. As a former prosecutor, my view is it’s dangerous to simply give the federal government open-ended authority to define a whole new class of federal hate crime incidents.”


The act would instruct the Department of Justice to expedite reviews of hate crimes related to COVID that are reported to law enforcement. The bill also seeks to introduce measures, such as an online reporting mechanism for anti-AAPI hate crimes.

The bill would also require the attorney general and the Department of Health and Human Services to create best-practice guidelines aimed at mitigating the use of racially discriminatory language in describing the COVID pandemic {snip}