Local lawyer Sadia Covert worked with State Representative Stephanie Kifowit and others on new legislation that will make it easier to punish hate crimes, and educate the offenders.
House Bill 2390 requires hate crime offenders to take a diversity course, in hopes that they don’t repeat their crime.
“Hate is something that you’re not born with, it’s something that’s learned. So if it’s learned, we can unlearn it,” said Covert, a lawyer and Executive Director of UCARE, a non-profit that aims to eliminate hate through education. “So our community here, our society at large, we need to cooperate with one another in diversity education, educating the public about different communities.”
Passed in the House and Senate, the bill also makes it possible to prosecute hate crimes in civil court, and removes the cap on restitution, which was previously set at $1,000.
“To me, diversity and the uniqueness of people is very important and then when you have individuals that undermine that, I view it as undermining community, our state, even our nation and that’s just unacceptable,” said Representative Kifowit.
The bill is expected to be signed into law by Governor Rauner sometime soon. Once signed, the bill will take effect immediately.
Naperville News 17’s Evan Summers reports.