Protect Vulnerable Communities

Wisconsin’s hate crimes law was passed in 1993, and then upheld by the United States Supreme Court, to protect people who are intentionally targeted for a crime based on their race, religion, color, disability, sexual orientation, national origin or ancestry.

Wisconsin’s law is written as a penalty enhancer, meaning that prosecutors can increase the penalty for certain crimes if they were motivated by bias against a protected group.

Current legislation attempts to expand the protected classes to people based on their occupation, specifically law enforcement officers.

The American Civil Liberties Union, the Anti-Defamation League (ADL) and the Milwaukee Jewish Federation oppose AB 48 because it is inconsistent with the purpose of hate crime laws. It threatens to weaken, water down, or undermine the protections that Wisconsin’s hate crimes law provides to vulnerable populations.

Moreover, it does not improve protections for police officers, who are already covered by multiple penalty enhancers. Prosecuting hate crimes requires proving intent, creating a higher bar than other laws protecting law enforcement.

Hate crime laws are not intended and should not be used to protect people based upon their occupation or similar activity. Current Wisconsin law already includes penalty enhancers for crimes targeting members of law enforcement. This should not be a partisan issue.

Read the text of Assembly Bill 48

Why not include law enforcement in the classes protected by hate crimes laws?

Letters of opposition from the National Association of Social Workers-Wisconsin Chapter and Anti-Defamation League
Denver Post Editorial
JCRC Community Consensus Position


Bill Would Increase Penalties for Hate Crimes Against Police Officers in Wisconsin
Is Killing a Police Officer a Hate Crimes (PBS NEWSHOUR)
JCRC’s Position on Hate Crimes

Contact your state legislators and tell them to reject AB 48. Ensure that Wisconsin’s hate crimes law continues to protect vulnerable communities by voting no.

Find your legislator