The Senate overwhelmingly voted Wednesday to move forward with consideration of hate crimes legislation aiming to combat violence toward Asian Americans as lawmakers seek bipartisan consensus in a divided chamber.

In a 92-6 vote, the COVID-19 Hate Crimes Act cleared a motion to proceed and opens up debate on a measure that would require Attorney General Merrick Garland to appoint a Department of Justice official to expedite a review of reported hate crimes during the coronavirus pandemic. The bill would also direct Garland to provide guidance for state and local law enforcement agencies for establishing online reporting, “culturally appropriate” public education campaigns and data collection.

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