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Villapudua Stands Against Hate with AB 3231

Bill Would Establish Greater Penalties for Felony Hate Crimes

For immediate release:

SACRAMENTO – Assemblymember Carlos Villapudua (D-Stockton) recently introduced AB 3231 to address the rise in hate crimes that minority communities have encountered over recent years.

“These crimes are rooted in a misguided hatred for somebody’s constitutional protections that are supposed to guarantee an equal opportunity for prosperity,” said Villapudua. “These malicious acts of pure evil have lasting impacts on a population that may deter them from fully participating and engaging in our society. We must reject this form of intimidation in full force.”

Crimes classified as a “violent felony” – such as murder, arson, robbery, kidnapping, and more – are subject to enhanced prison terms to “display society’s condemnation for these extraordinary crimes of violence” against a person. AB 3231 would additionally classify a “felony hate crime” as a violent felony to hold individuals accountable for the terror they impose on entire populations.

Recent reports recorded a 337% increase in anti-Semitic hate crimes in the United States in the weeks following Hamas’ attack on Israel on October 7. This sharp rise in hate crimes following a global conflict or struggle is sadly not a unique circumstance. According to the National Institutes of Health, hate crimes against the Asian population in the United States increased by 145% annually in 2020 after the onset of the coronavirus pandemic. Hate crimes against different groups have been, and continues to be, a pervasive issue throughout society.

Hate crimes happen in many forms. From intimidation and verbal abuse to vandalism, physical altercations, and even life-threatening incidents, the psychological impact they have on an entire population often weighs heavy and may leave the community traumatized. As a result, people often fear engaging in civic life, leaving their homes, and even answering a phone call.

“Classifying a felony hate crime as a violent felony would send the message loud and clear,” said Villapudua. “There is no place for this kind of intimidation within our society.”

AB 3231 is expected to be heard in the Assembly Committee on Public Safety this spring.