Reno urges expansion of hate crimes legislation

WASHINGTON (AP) — Attorney General Janet Reno urged Congress to expand federal hate crime laws to include offenses based on sexual orientation, saying on Sunday that the murder of gay Wyoming student Matthew Shepard shows that the government must take a stronger stand.
Reno, appearing on CNN’s “Late Edition,” said such nationwide legislation is needed to address “situations where the state cannot or will not take action.”
She said a bill introduced almost a year ago — but not passed by the current Congress — sends “a clear message from the federal government, if we can get it passed, that hate crimes will not be tolerated.”
The beating death of Shepard, a University of Wyoming freshman, has renewed debate about a more comprehensive hate crimes bill.