Senator James Moylan has introduced a hate crime bill that would increase fines and sentences if the motive for the crime is based on prejudice over race, religion, or sexual orientation.
Guam is among eight other states and territories that have not enacted hate crime legislation.
And even though federal legislation exists to cover hate crimes, Moylan maintains that a local law is necessary in the wake of George Floyd’s death at the hands of Minneapolis police.
“The situation for introducing this bill was what happened unfortunately in Minnesota with George Floyd. And that was very disturbing. And then we saw the protests that happened in cities throughout the globe, including Guam. Then we looked into it and we realized that there is language missing. We don’t have the hate crimes on Guam and we’re one of the few that do not,” Moylan said.
The senator says his measure is modeled after similar legislation on the mainland. And given the events of recent weeks, Moylan feels it’s important to have language in place, just as many other states have, where hate crimes are defined and punishments are stipulated in local law.