Skip to main content
It looks like you're using Internet Explorer 11 or older. This website works best with modern browsers such as the latest versions of Chrome, Firefox, Safari, and Edge. If you continue with this browser, you may see unexpected results.

COVID-19 and Racism: Legislative Responses: State Resolutions

This guide is a compilation of state and local laws that have been passed in the wake of COVID-19, as a response to the rise of racist and xenophobic attacks on Asians and other minority groups as well as an attempt to address systemic injustices.

State Action

Alaska

State Resolution: H.B. 198, 31st Leg. (Alaska 2019-2020)

Status: Introduced; introduced January 21, 2020 and referred to Judiciary Committee

Last Accessed: 05/28/20

Summary: "An Act relating to aggravating factors considered at sentencing."

California

State Resolution: Unruh Civil Rights Act, Cal. Civ. Code § 51 (West 2016).

Status: Enacted in 1959, current with urgency legislation through Ch. 3 of 2020 Reg. Sess.

Last Accessed: 05/28/20.

Summary: The Unruh Civil Rights Act specifically outlaws discrimination by all business establishments in California based on sex, race, color, religion, ancestry, national origin, mental or physical disability, age or medical condition (including HIV status).

State Resolution: Ralph Civil Rights Act of 1976, Cal. Civ. Code § 51.7 (West 2019).

Status: Enacted in 1976, current with urgency legislation through Ch. 3 of 2020 Reg. Sess.

Last Accessed: 05/28/20.

Summary:The Ralph Act guarantees that each person in California be free of violence, intimidation and the threat of violence, against their person or property based upon actual or perceived protected classifications, including, but not necessarily limited to: citizenship, immigration status, political affiliation, race, and national origin.

State Resolution: Tom Bane Civil Rights Act, Cal. Civ. Code § 52.1 (West 2019).

Status: Enacted in 1987, current with urgency legislation through Ch. 3 of 2020 Reg. Sess.

Last Accessed: 05/28/20

Summary: The Bane Act guarantees that persons in California be free from interference by the actual or attempted "threat, intimidation, or coercion" ... "with the exercise of enjoyment" ... "of rights secured by the Constitution or laws of the United States, or of the rights secured by the Constitution or laws of this state." The Bane Act forbids anyone from interfering by force or by threat of violence with federal or state constitutional or statutory rights. The acts forbidden by these civil laws may also be criminal acts and can expose violators to criminal penalties.

State Reporting Center: Stop AAPI Hate

Summary: CA Assemblyman David Chiu (D-San Francisco) announced a new reporting center "in response to the escalation of xenophobia and bigotry related to the COVID-19 pandemic." This state reporting center joins together the Asian Pacific Planning and Policy Council, Chinese for Affirmative Action, and San Francisco Statue University Asian American Studies Department "to collect and track incidents of anti-Asian American and Pacific Islander hate, violence, and discrimination in California and throughout the country."

State Budget Bill: AB-85 Budget Act of 2020 (California 2021 - 2022)

Status: Enacted February 23, 2021

Last Accessed: 03/03/21

Summary: As part of California's AB85 budget bill, lawmakers in California allocated $1.4 million in state funds to help Asian Americans report hate incidents. "The rise in hate incidents against Asian Americans during the pandemic is alarming. But, we can't solve a problem without knowing how big it is," said Assemblymember Phil Ting of San Francisco and chair of the state's budget committee (must be a VU community member to access this hyperlink) (Nicole Chavez & Stella Chan, California Allocates $1.4 Million to Track and Stop Attacks Against Asian Americans, CNN Wire Service, Feb. 25, 2021).

"The funds will support the work of researchers at the Asian American Studies Center at the University of California Los Angeles as well as several initiatives including the Stop AAPI Hate website, which began collecting reports of racism and discrimination against Asian Americans on March 19, [2020]... The funding allocated by California lawmakers will support the data collection and the advocacy efforts done by a coalition of organizations involved in the initiative, including offering resources to those directly to impacted by the attacks... The funding will also support a website developed by UCLA faculty that translates COVID-19 medical facts into dozens of languages, including Japanese and Vietnamese, and research focused on how the pandemic has impacted Asian-owned businesses, homeowners and renters." Nicole Chavez & Stella Chan, California Allocates $1.4 Million to Track and Stop Attacks Against Asian Americans, CNN Wire Service, Feb. 25, 2021.

Minnesota

State Resolution: H.F. 3837, 91st Leg. (Minn. 2019-2020)

Status: Introduced; introduced February 26, 2020 but has since stalled in the Senate in the waning days of the state Legislature as lawmakers focus on a $2.4 billion-dollar deficit brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Last Accessed: 05/27/20

Summary: Crimes motivated by bias reporting expanded; property damage crime motivated by bias amended; Peace Officer Standards and Training Board bias required to update training in recognizing, responding to, and reporting crimes of bias; law enforcemnet agencies adoption of standard policies regarding crimes motivated by bias required; and money appropriated.

State Resolution: S.F. 4332, 91st Leg. (Minn. 2019-2020)

Status: Introduced; introduced March 16, 2020 but has since stalled in the Senate in the waning days of the state legislature as lawmakers focus on a $2.4 billion-dollar deficit brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Last Accessed: 05/27/20

Summary: Crimes motivated by bias reporting expansion; crime of property damage motivated by bias modification; Peace Officer Standards and Training (POST) board training update in recognizing, responding to, and reporting crimes of bias requirement; appropriating money

State Reporting Center: Discrimination Hotline

Summary: Governor Tim Walz launched a discrimination helpline over reports of bias against Asian-Americans during the COVID-19 pandemic.

New Jersey

State Resolution: A.J.R. 160, 219th Leg. (N.J. 2020).

Status: Introduced March 23, 2020; referred to Assembly Homeland Security and State Preparedness Committee

Last Accessed: 06/08/20

Summary: A resolution in support of Chinese and other Asian American communities and international partners during Coronavirus disease 2019 epidemic.

State Resolution: A.R. 153, 219th Leg. (N.J. 2020).

Status: Introduced May 1, 2020; referred to Assembly Law and Public Safety Committee

Last Accessed: 06/08/20

Summary: Denounces racism in the wake of COVID-19.

Ohio

State Resolution: S.C.R. 12, 133rd Gen. Assemb., Reg. Sess. (Ohio 2020).

Status: Introduced April 8, 2020; referred to Senate Judiciary Committee.

Last Accessed: 06/08/20.

Summary: A resolution to denounce all forms of stigmatization, racism, and discrimination occurring as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Utah

State Resolution: S.C.R. 8, 2020 Gen. Sess. (Utah 2020).

Status: Enrolled by House and Senate in March 2020. Governor declined to sign on April 1, 2020.

Last Accessed: 06/09/20

Summary: A concurrent resolution in support of the Chinese people regarding the Coronavirus Outbreak.