Bill providing support for victims of hate crimes signed into law

Hotline to be created to report hate crimes and bias incidents; bill sponsored by state Sen. Valdez

State Sen. Javier Valdez, D-Seattle. COURTESY PHOTO

State Sen. Javier Valdez, D-Seattle. COURTESY PHOTO

A bill to provide meaningful help to victims of hate crimes and bias incidents in Washington state was signed into law on Tuesday, March 26 by Gov. Jay Inslee.

Senate Bill 5427, sponsored by Sen. Javier Valdez, D-Seattle, establishes a support system for victims of hate crimes and bias incidents by creating a hotline administered by the state Attorney General’s Office for reporting these incidents, according to a March 26 media release from Washington Senate Democrats.

The hotline will accept reports and provide appropriate crisis intervention, as well as victim-centered, culturally competent and trauma-informed information. These services will be accessible to as many Washington state residents as possible, regardless of the language they speak.

“This new law addresses the concerning surge in hate crimes within our state.” Valdez said. “It affirms that hate has no place within our communities. It’s more than just collecting reports; it’s about standing up for our neighbors, offering them meaningful support, and fostering an environment where everyone feels safe, valued, and heard.”

A Maple Valley man allegedly said the n-word and other racist slurs to a Black woman while sitting behind her March 7 on a King County Metro bus in Kent. He then allegedly forced the woman off the bus, punched her repeatedly in the face and stomach and attempted to stab her numerous times.

King County prosecutors charged Adan C Hernandez-Mayoral with hate crime and second-degree assault, according to King County Superior Court documents filed March 12.

Under this new law, the Attorney General’s Office will develop a standardized process to collect, analyze and regularly report information related to these incidents to the governor, Senate and House of Representatives, according to the media release. The collected data will also be required to be made publicly available after redacting personally identifiable information for the protection and safety of the victims.

The new law goes into effect Jan. 1, 2025.

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