OLYMPIA — Under current law, crimes motivated by hate are prosecuted as “malicious harassment.” HB 1732, passed today by the Senate, would more clearly call out these offenses for what they are by renaming the violations “hate crime offenses” in state law.

“We have a sorry history of hate in our country and, sadly, our state,” said Sen. Liz Lovelett (D-Anacortes), who voted for the bill. “It’s time to recognize these crimes for what they truly are and to acknowledge the trauma they cause to our communities. We have a responsibility to work harder on being an inclusive, welcoming state.”

Towards that end, the Senate also passed Senate Resolution 8639, honoring the Sikh community in Washington state. During the month of April, the Sikh community celebrates Vaisakhi, which marks the beginning of the harvest season and the Sikh New Year.

“It was an honor to celebrate with Sikh members of our communities,” said Lovelett. “Despite our state’s history of discrimination and unfair treatment, our Sikh neighbors have shown resiliency and grace in the face of adversity. They are important members of our communities as business owners, public officials, and advocates and consistently demonstrate their care for vulnerable people.”

The Washington State Senate honors the Sikh American Community with SR 8639, April 10th, 2019.

Following the resolution, Lovelett met with Sikh residents who made the trip to Olympia, some from Whatcom County, including Whatcom County Councilmember Satpal Sidhu.

The Senate passed an amended version of HB 1732 and will send it back to the House of Representatives for concurrence approval.