Dear Dr. Jones:
Thank you for contacting me about H.R. 1913, the Local Law Enforcement Hate Crimes Prevention Act. Understanding your ideas and concerns is important to me, as it helps me to better represent you and the Fifth District of Oklahoma.
This legislation was passed with a vote of 249 to 175 in the House of Representatives on April 29, 2009.
I believe that all violent crimes are unacceptable, regardless of the victims, and should be prosecuted to the fullest extent. However, the determination of criminal penalties for violent crime is constitutionally reserved for state and local governments. State and local law enforcement are best equipped to enforce and mandate these penalties and are doing so already very effectively, under each state's laws.
Thank you again for taking the time to share your ideas and concerns. As the 111th Congress addresses the many challenges facing our nation, I hope you will continue to share your thoughts and views with me. However, due to increased security measures, mail delivery may be delayed for up to two weeks. Accordingly, I encourage you to visit my website at www.fallin.house.gov to contact me via email in the future. While visiting my site you may also sign up for my e-newsletter as well as find useful information about the 111th Congress.
And my response:
State and local law enforcement are best equipped to enforce and mandate these penalties and are doing so already very effectively, under each state's laws.
As you well know, federal statutes such as this partially exist because state and local governments can often be quite bigoted, as they are here in Oklahoma, when it comes to protections for all citizens. The District Attorney of Oklahoma County and the Attorney General of the State have both called for this type of legislation on the state level, but the legislature has failed to even discuss in committee the six different bills introduced the last two sessions.
Please do not pass the buck of doing your duty to protect all your constituents, and, in the process, support continued violence of bigots and hate groups.
Rev. Dr. Scott Jones