Governor Bruce Rauner announced today at the Illinois Holocaust Museum Humanitarian Awards dinner a number of steps the administration is taking to combat hate crimes and growing anti-Semitism in Illinois.
“We cannot stay silent on hate. We cannot stay silent when families in our community are in danger. The promise of ‘Never Again’ requires us to take action,” Governor Rauner said. “Illinois is a leader in standing up to hate crimes and anti-Semitism, but we can and must do more.
In a memo to Illinois Director of Public Safety Rodger Heaton and Secretary of Education Beth Purvis, the Governor outlined a number of objectives to protect minority communities from hate and violence. Those objectives are:
· Strengthening Illinois’ Hate Crime Law
The Illinois Holocaust and Genocide has proposed legislation to increase penalties for acts of vandalism against houses of worship and religious centers. The administration is working with the bill’s sponsors on HB 2390, and the governor will sign the agreed bill when it reaches his desk.
· Improve Law Enforcement Training and Response on Hate Crimes
In conjunction with the Anti-Defamation League, the Illinois State Police (ISP) and the Illinois Law Enforcement Training and Standards Board, the administration will develop a statewide standardized training plan for state troopers and local police departments. Illinois will also strengthen its partnerships with the Department of Homeland Security and Federal Bureau of Investigation to protect religious minority institutions across the state.
· Expand Anti-Hate Education in Schools
Illinois was the first state in the country to require students learn about the Holocaust as part of their curriculum. The administration will work with Illinois State Board of Education to create a dedicated portal to anti-hate education in support the state’s requirement to educate our students about the Holocaust.
· Strengthen Illinois’ Landmark anti-BDS Law
Illinois was also the first state in the country to pass legislation to fight the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement by restricting state pension funds from investing in countries that boycott Israel. Other states followed Illinois’ lead, but went a step farther in prohibiting state contracts with companies that boycott Israel. The administration will work with the General Assembly to strengthen Illinois’ landmark by prohibiting state contracts for companies that boycott Israel.
“In a time of rising hate crimes and anti-Semitism, we need to remember that America is the flagbearer for freedom of religion,” Governor Rauner added. “We should do everything we can to prosecute those who look to incite hate and violence against others because of their religion.”