U.S. Rep. Lauren Boebert was one of 62 republicans to oppose the COVID-19 Hate Crimes Act on Tuesday.
The bill, which President Joe Biden signed into law on Thursday, requires U.S. Attorney General Merrick Garland to designate an officer or employee of the Department of Justice to “facilitate the expedited review of hate crimes.”
“We have seen a substantial rise in hate crimes and bias-related incidents against the Asian-American and Pacific Islander community since the beginning of the pandemic,” Garland said in a statement shortly after the COVID-19 Hate Crimes Act became a law. “This new law will help speed our response to hate crimes and provide resources to law enforcement to improve hate crime reporting. The law will assist law enforcement in targeting its efforts, which will help to prevent these devastating crimes and to respond efficiently and effectively to crimes, when they occur.”
Boebert — who represents Colorado’s 3rd Congressional District that includes Pitkin and Garfield counties — said in an email Thursday that she opposed the COVID-19 Hate Crimes Act because she does “not support separating Americans into different categories.”
“Instead of virtue signaling by passing hate crime legislation that divvies up Americans by race to determine their worth on the woke privilege sliding scale, we should fully fund the police so that they can investigate all crimes and provide swift justice for all,” Boebert said in an email.
According to the act’s findings, nearly 3,800 cases of anti-Asian discrimination and incidents related to COVID-19 were reported in the U.S. between March 19, 2020 and Feb. 28 of this year.
The bill also acknowledged the eight people — Xiaojie Tan, Daoyou Feng, Delaina Ashley Yaun González, Paul Andre Michels, Soon Chung Park, Hyun Jung Grant, Suncha Kim and Yong Ae Yue — who were killed by a shooter who targeted three massage businesses in the Atlanta area on March 16. Six of the victims were Asian-American women.
The COVID-19 Hate Crimes Act also directed Garland to issue guidance to state, local and tribal law enforcement agencies on establishing online reporting of hate crimes.
“There are certainly a small number of votes against the legislation that are no doubt a matter of concern for those who’ve been impacted by hateful actions or words,” Pitkin County Manager Jon Peacock said Thursday. “One of the things I can’t do is speak directly to Rep. Boebert’s vote, but I can say that the legislation seems to align with Pitkin County’s strategic plan and our goal of having a safe and healthy community.”
Boebert won the 3rd Congressional District seat after defeating former state legislator Diane Mitsch Bush — in Pitkin County, Boebert received 23.9% of the vote to Bush’s 73.5%.
According to Peacock, Boebert’s office has “not had a lot of interaction” with Pitkin County throughout the pandemic.
“I don’t know if that’s true for other communities in the district,” Peacock said of the 3rd Congressional District that incorporates 29 of the state’s 64 counties.