Senate Considers Violence Against Homeless

Senate Judiciary Panel Mulls Asking FBI To Track Homeless Hate Attacks

On Wednesday, September 29, for the first time ever, a Senate Judiciary panel took up the issue of violence against the homeless; specifically, whether attacks against them were frequent enough to warrant F.B.I. tracking in the way hate crimes based on sexual orientation, race, religion, disability, and ethnicity are already tracked and analyzed by law enforcement.

The less interesting purpose of the hearing was to keep Senate Bill 1765 — the legislation to require such tracking — alive and able to be easily acted upon when Congress reassembles in 2011.

The hearing-room, in the Dirksen Senate Office Building, was full. At least three residents of the behemoth Washington DC homeless shelter founded by activist Mitch Snyder in 1986 were there to support the effort. Only one Judiciary Committee member was present: Senator Benjamin Cardin, D-Maryland. This could be because Wednesday was Congress’ last day of business before the elections, and lawmakers’ schedules were jam-packed.

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