After a bill to require peace officer training when responding to hate crimes failed in the House, some North Dakota lawmakers are taking a different approach to the issue.
House Concurrent Resolution 3045 calls for a study on how often bias-motivated crimes happen in North Dakota to get a clearer picture of the data.
One example happened in 2017 when a woman reportedly yelled “We’re going to kill all of you,” at a group of Somali women in Fargo. According to the legislation, North Dakota had the second most bias-motivated crimes per capita as recently as 2015, but there are few studies on the topic.
Rep. Ruth Buffalo says she’s heard from constituents, even before her time in the office about the issue and a study would be a first step toward addressing the problem.
“It’s an ongoing conversation and discussion where people will informally reach out and share ‘What do I do,’ this is what happened to their family member or themselves, so it’s a current issue and we hope to address this, and in turn keep our talented workforce here in North Dakota,” Buffalo said.
Other states have similar legislation, including Wyoming, which introduced a bill this year to provide harsher penalties for hate crimes.