Lawmakers want the Justice Department to quickly review hate crimes reported during the pandemic

Rep. Grace Meng of New York and Sen. Mazie K. Hirono of Hawaii.

(CNN)Two Democratic lawmakers are reintroducing legislation Thursday calling for the expedited review of hate crimes related to the pandemic.

The legislation known as the Covid-19 Hate Crimes Act was first proposed by Rep. Grace Meng of New York last year. Meng and Sen. Mazie Hirono of Hawaii are bringing the bill back to the House and Senate as a way to address the recent rise of violent attacks targeting Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders across the country.
Meng said she hopes the legislation tackles the "disgusting pattern of hate." The AAPI community has been facing racism since the start of the pandemic last year.
If passed, the bill will support the designation of an officer or employee at the Justice Department who will help expedite the review of hate crimes reported during the Covid-19 pandemic.
In recent months, a string of attacks has resulted in several people injured and others have lost their lives in California and New York.
Multiracial coalitions have come together to denounce the violence. Actors and athletes have delivered impassioned responses. California has allocated more than a million dollars to help track incidents of discrimination and hate and law enforcement in multiple cities have created units focused on crimes against Asians.
"This must end and it is why we are working to ensure our justice system has the people and resources to effectively account for and mitigate anti-Asian hate crimes. I look forward to this bill becoming law," Meng said in a statement.
Earlier this month, officials with the Justice Department held a listening session with several AAPI community groups and requested feedback from US attorneys in districts with significant AAPI populations on case trends, data collection and community outreach, the department said in a news release.
CNN reached out to the Justice Department for comment on the proposed bill.
The bill would also lead to the creation of a platform to report hate crimes or incidents online that would be available in multiple languages as well as expand "culturally competent and linguistically appropriate public education campaigns" and issue guidance on how to mitigate discriminatory language when describing the Covid-19 pandemic.
"We've seen the horrifying consequences of racist language as AAPI communities across our country experience hate crimes and violence related to the pandemic," said Hirono in a statement.
John C. Yang, president and executive director of Asian Americans Advancing Justice | AAJC, said there's a need for improving how hate crimes linked to Covid-19 are reported and handled by law enforcement.
It's more difficult to bring and prosecute hate crime charges than other criminal charges because they require law enforcement to prove a specific motivation of bias.
The family of Vicha Ratanapakdee, the 84-year-old Thai immigrant who died after being violently shoved to the ground in San Francisco, called his attack a hate crime but law enforcement officials have so far indicated there isn't evidence to suggest it was motivated solely by race.
The perpetrator who allegedly shoved a 91-year-old man, among others, to the ground in Oakland's Chinatown has been hit with several charges, though none accuse him of a hate crime.