skip to main content

S. 728 (117th): COVID–19 Hate Crimes Act

The text of the bill below is as of Mar 11, 2021 (Introduced). The bill was not enacted into law.



1st Session

S. 728


March 11, 2021

(for herself, Ms. Duckworth, Mr. Blumenthal, Mr. Booker, Mrs. Feinstein, Mr. Kaine, Ms. Klobuchar, Mr. Markey, Mr. Menendez, Mrs. Murray, Mr. Padilla, Ms. Rosen, Mr. Van Hollen, Ms. Cantwell, Mr. Durbin, and Mr. Warner) introduced the following bill; which was read twice and referred to the Committee on the Judiciary


To facilitate the expedited review of COVID–19 hate crimes, and for other purposes.


Short title

This Act may be cited as the COVID–19 Hate Crimes Act.


Review of COVID–19 hate crimes


In general

Not later than 14 days after the date of enactment of this Act, the Attorney General shall designate an officer or employee of the Department of Justice whose sole responsibility during the applicable period shall be to facilitate the expedited review of COVID–19 hate crimes and reports of any such crime to Federal, State, or local law enforcement agencies.



In this section:


Applicable period

The term applicable period means the period beginning on the date on which the officer or employee is designated under subsection (a), and ending on the date that is 1 year after the date on which the emergency period described in subparagraph (B) of section 1135(g)(1) of the Social Security Act (42 U.S.C. 1320b–5(g)(1)) ends, except that the Attorney General may extend such period as appropriate.


COVID–19 hate crime

The term COVID–19 hate crime means a crime of violence (as such term is defined in section 16 of title 18, United States Code) that is motivated by—


the actual or perceived race, ethnicity, age, color, religion, national origin, sexual orientation, gender, gender identity, or disability of any person; and


the actual or perceived relationship to the spread of COVID–19 of any person because of the characteristic described in subparagraph (A).




Guidance for law enforcement agencies

The Attorney General shall issue guidance for State and local law enforcement agencies on how to—


establish online reporting of hate crimes or incidents, and to have online reporting available in multiple languages as determined by the Attorney General; and


expand culturally competent and linguistically appropriate public education campaigns, and collection of data and public reporting of hate crimes.


Guidance relating to COVID–19 pandemic

The Attorney General and the Secretary of Health and Human Services, in coordination with the COVID–19 Health Equity Task Force and community-based organizations, shall issue guidance describing best practices to mitigate racially discriminatory language in describing the COVID–19 pandemic.