Senate Calls for Hearings on Rise of White Supremacist Movement
SACRAMENTO – The first order of business for Senators returning to the State Capitol on Monday August 21st was to unequivocally denounce the recent act of terror in Charlottesville, Virginia.
Senators forcefully condemned the violent racism, anti-Semitism, and Nazism that was on display in Charlottesville, and called for a comprehensive state response and hearings to ensure California is prepared to protect public safety and free speech in the event of future white supremacist activities.
“The cowardly attack that claimed Heather Heyer’s life was an attack on America – on all of us – our values, and the promise we strive to achieve,” California Senate Leader Kevin de León (D-Los Angeles) said. “And the hateful ideology that fueled that attack is a cancer on our nation. These issues cut to the heart of our society; our response will show what kind of nation we want to be.”
Senator de León announced a series of public hearings by the Senate Public Safety Committee, Judiciary Committee, and Joint Legislative Committee on Emergency Management to review the safeguards and procedures in place to avoid violent conflict at future white supremacist demonstrations or events. The committees will call on officials from the University of California, California State University, and California Highway Patrol to testify on their preparedness.
“Racist terrorism as expressed by these groups is not welcome in California,” said Senator Nancy Skinner (D-Berkeley), Chair of the Senate Public Safety. “By strengthening California hate crime law, my SB 630 will ensure that racist and hateful groups can be fully prosecuted.”
The Senate Judiciary Committee will also investigate how to ensure that neo-Nazis and white supremacy groups do not commit or engage in violence against Californians.
“The shocking display of hate and violence from neo-Nazis and white supremacy hate groups in Charlottesville just over a week ago was appalling and distressing. This is not what our country stands for,” said Senator Hannah-Beth Jackson (D-Santa Barbara), Chair of the Senate Judiciary Committee. “Next month, the Senate Committee on Judiciary will conduct a hearing to examine how best to protect Californians from the threats of violence by emboldened domestic terror groups and determine whether additional laws are needed to protect members of our communities.”