The bill was introduced for the fourth time into the House on March 30, 2007, by Conyers. The 2007 version of the bill added "gender identity to the list of suspect classes for prosecution of hate crimes. The bill was again referred to the Subcommittee on Crime, Terrorism and Homeland Security.
The bill passed the subcommittee by "voice vote and the full "House Judiciary Committee by a vote of 20–14. The bill then proceeded to the full House, where it was passed on May 3, 2007, with a vote of 237–180 with Representative "Barney Frank, one of two openly gay members of the House at the time, presiding.
The bill then proceeded to the "U.S. Senate, where it was introduced by Senator "Ted Kennedy and Senator "Gordon Smith on April 12, 2007. It was referred to the "Senate Judiciary Committee. The bill died when it failed to advance in the Senate committee.
On July 11, 2007, Kennedy attempted to introduce the bill again as an amendment to the Senate Defense Reauthorization bill (H.R. 1585). The Senate hate crime amendment had 44 cosponsors, including four Republicans. After Republicans staged a filibuster on a troop-withdrawal amendment to the defense bill, Senate Majority Leader "Harry Reid delayed the votes on the hate crime amendment and the defense bill until September.
The bill passed the Senate on September 27, 2007, as an amendment to the Defense Reauthorization bill. The "cloture vote was 60–39 in favor. The amendment was then approved by "voice vote. President Bush indicated he might veto the DoD authorization bill if it reached his desk with the hate crimes legislation attached. Ultimately, the amendment was dropped by the "Democratic leadership because of opposition from "antiwar Democrats, conservative groups, and Bush.
In late 2008, then-President-elect "Barack Obama's website stated that one of the goals of his new administration would be to see the bill passed.
Conyers introduced the bill for the fifth time into the House on April 2, 2009. In his introductory speech, he claimed that many law enforcement groups, such as the "International Association of Chiefs of Police, the "National Sheriffs Association and 31 state Attorneys General support the bill and that the impact hate violence has on communities justifies federal involvement.
The bill was immediately referred to the full "Judiciary Committee, where it passed by a vote of 15–12 on April 23, 2009.
On April 28, 2009, Rep. "Mike Honda ("D-"CA) claimed that if the bill were passed it may help prevent the murders of transgender Americans, such as the murder of "Angie Zapata. Conversely, Rep. "Steve King ("R-"IA) claimed that the bill was an expansion of a category of "thought crimes" and compared the bill to the book "Nineteen Eighty-Four. That same day, the "House Rules Committee allowed one hour and 20 minutes for debate.
The bill then moved to the full House, for debate. During the debate, Rep. "Jan Schakowsky (D-"IL) claimed that the bill would help prevent murders such as those of spree killer "Benjamin Nathaniel Smith and would take "an important step" towards a more just society. After the vote, Rep. "Trent Franks (R-"AZ) claimed that "equal protection regardless of status is a fundamental premise of the nation and thus the bill is unnecessary, and that, rather, it would prevent religious organizations from expressing their beliefs openly (although the bill only refers to violent actions, not speech.)
The bill passed the House on April 29, 2009, by a vote of 249–175, with support from 231 Democrats and 18 Republicans, including "Republican Main Street Partnership members "Judy Biggert (IL), "Mary Bono Mack (CA), "Joseph Cao ("LA), "Mike Castle (DE), "Charlie Dent ("PA), "Lincoln Diaz-Balart ("FL), "Mario Diaz-Balart (FL), "Rodney Frelinghuysen ("NJ), "Jim Gerlach (PA), "Mark Kirk (IL), "Leonard Lance (NJ), "Frank LoBiondo (NJ), "Todd Russell Platts (PA), "Dave Reichert ("WA), and "Greg Walden ("OR) along with "Bill Cassidy (LA), "Mike Coffman ("CO), and "Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (FL).
On April 30, 2009, Rep. "Todd Tiahrt (R-"KS) compared the bill to the novel "Animal Farm and claimed it would harm free speech. Rep. "George Miller (D-CA) and Rep. "Dutch Ruppersberger (D-"MD) both announced that they were unable to be present for the vote, but had they been present they would each have voted in favor. Conversely, Rep. "Michael Burgess (R-"TX) claimed federal law was already sufficient to prevent hate crimes and said that had he been present he would have voted against the bill.
On October 8, 2009, the House passed the Matthew Shepard and James Byrd, Jr. Hate Crimes Prevention Act as part of the conference report on Defense Authorization for fiscal year 2010. The vote was 281–146, with support from 237 Democrats and 44 Republicans.
The bill again proceeded to the Senate, where it was again introduced by Kennedy on April 28, 2009. The Senate version of the bill had 45 cosponsors as of July 8, 2009.
On June 25, 2009, the "Senate Judiciary Committee held a hearing on the bill. "Attorney General "Eric Holder testified in support of the bill, the first time a sitting Attorney General has ever testified in favor of the bill. During his testimony, Holder mentioned his previous testimony on a nearly identical bill to the senate in July 1998 (the Hate Crimes Prevention Act of 1998, S. 1529), just months before Matthew Shepard was murdered. According to "CNN, Holder testified that, "more than 77,000 hate crime incidents were reported by the "FBI between 1998 and 2007, or 'nearly one hate crime for every hour of every day over the span of a decade.'" Holder emphasized that one of his "highest personal priorities ... is to do everything I can to ensure this critical legislation finally becomes law".
Reverend Mark Achtemeier of the "University of Dubuque Theological Seminary, "Janet Langhart, whose play was premiering at the "United States Holocaust Museum at the time of the "shooting earlier in the month and Michael Lieberman of the "Anti-Defamation League also testified in favor of the bill. "Gail Heriot of the "United States Commission on Civil Rights and Brian Walsh of the "Heritage Foundation testified in opposition to the bill.
The Matthew Shepard Act was adopted as an amendment to S. 1390 (the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2010) by a 63–28 cloture vote on July 15, 2009. At the request of Senator "Jeff Sessions (an opponent of the Matthew Shepard Act), an amendment was added to the Senate version of the hate crimes legislation that would have allowed prosecutors to seek the "death penalty for hate crime murders, though the amendment was later removed in conference with the House.
The bill won the support of five Republicans: "Susan Collins ("ME), "Dick Lugar ("IN), "Lisa Murkowski ("AK), "Olympia Snowe ("ME), and "George Voinovich ("OH).
The bill passed the Senate when the Defense bill passed on July 23, 2009. As originally passed, the House version of the defense bill did not include the hate crimes legislation, requiring the difference to be worked out in a "Conference committee. On October 7, 2009, the Conference committee published the final version of the bill, which included the hate crimes amendment; the conference report was then passed by the House on October 8, 2009. On October 22, 2009, following a 64–35 "cloture vote, the conference report was passed by the Senate by a vote of 68–29. The bill was signed into law on the afternoon of October 28, 2009, by "President "Barack Obama.
|Congress||Short title||Bill number||Date introduced||Sponsor||# of cosponsors||Latest status|
|"107th Congress||Local Law Enforcement Hate Crimes Prevention Act of 2001||H.R. 1343||April 3, 2001||Rep. "John Conyers (D-MI)||208||Died in the "House Subcommittee on Crime|
|S. 625||March 27, 2001||Sen. "Ted Kennedy (D-MA)||50||Failed "cloture motion 54-43|
|"108th Congress||Local Law Enforcement Hate Crimes Prevention Act of 2004||H.R. 4204||April 22, 2004||Rep. "John Conyers (D-MI)||178||Died in the House Subcommittee on Crime, Terrorism, and Homeland Security|
|S.Amdt. 3183 to S. 2400||June 14, 2004||Sen. "Gordon H. Smith (R-OR)||4||Passed in the Senate (65–33) as an amendment to the Ronald W. Reagan National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2005 S. 2400
Removed from conference report
|"109th Congress||Local Law Enforcement Hate Crimes Prevention Act of 2005||H.R. 2662||May 26, 2005||Rep. "John Conyers (D-MI)||159||Died in the "House Subcommittee on Crime, Terrorism, and Homeland Security|
|S. 1145||May 26, 2005||Sen. "Ted Kennedy (D-MA)||45||Died in the Senate Judiciary Committee|
|"110th Congress||Local Law Enforcement Hate Crimes Prevention Act of 2007||H.R. 1592||March 30, 2007||Rep. "John Conyers (D-MI)||171||Passed the House (237–180)|
|S. 1105||April 12, 2007||Sen. "Ted Kennedy (D-MA)||44||Died in the Senate Judiciary Committee|
|"111th Congress||Local Law Enforcement Hate Crimes Prevention Act of 2009||H.R. 1913||April 2, 2009||Rep. "John Conyers (D-MI)||120||Passed the House (249–175) as an amendment to the "National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2010 H.R. 2647.|
|S. 909||April 28, 2009||Sen. "Ted Kennedy (D-MA)||45||Died in the Senate Judiciary Committee (after the Leahy version passed)|
|S.Amdt. 1511 to S. 1390||July 15, 2009||Sen. "Patrick Leahy (D-VT)||37||Passed in the Senate (63–28) as an amendment to the "National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2010. Signed into law October 28, 2009 by "President "Barack Obama.|
In May 2011, a man in "Arkansas pleaded guilty under the Act to running a car containing five Hispanic men off the road. As a result, he became the first person ever convicted under the Act. A second man involved in the same incident was later convicted under the Act; his appeal of that conviction was denied on August 6, 2012.
In August 2011, one man in "New Mexico pleaded guilty to branding a "swastika into the arm of a developmentally disabled man of "Navajo descent. A second man entered a guilty plea to conspiracy to commit a federal hate crime. The two men were accused of branding the victim, shaving a swastika into his head, and writing the words "white power" and the acronym "KKK" on his body. A third man in June 2011, entered a guilty plea to conspiracy to commit a federal hate crime. All three men were charged under the Act in December 2010.
On March 15, 2012, the "Kentucky State Police assisted the "FBI in arresting David Jenkins, Anthony Jenkins, Mable Jenkins, and Alexis Jenkins of "Partridge, Kentucky, for the beating of Kevin Pennington during a late-night attack in April 2011 at Kingdom Come State Park, near Cumberland. The push came from the gay-rights group "Kentucky Equality Federation, whose president, Jordan Palmer, began lobbying the U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Kentucky in August 2011 to prosecute after stating he had no confidence in the Harlan County Commonwealth's Attorney to act. "I think the case's notoriety may have derived in large part from the "Kentucky Equality Federation efforts," said Harvey, the U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Kentucky. Mable Jenkins, and Alexis Jenkins pleaded guilty.
In 2016, for the first time the Justice Department used the Act to bring criminal charges against a person for selecting a victim because of their gender identity. In that case Joshua Brandon Vallum pled guilty to murdering Mercedes Williamson in 2015 because she was transgender, in violation of the Act.
The constitutionality of the law was challenged in a 2010 lawsuit filed by the "Thomas More Law Center; the lawsuit was dismissed.
William Hatch, who pleaded guilty to a hate crime in the New Mexico case, also contested the law on Constitutional grounds. The "Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals heard the case (U.S. v. Hatch) and upheld the conviction on June 3, 2013.
one of whom now admits to targeting Shepard for being gay