Hate crimes legislation passed a cloture vote moments ago in the Senate. The Senate now has up to 30 hours to vote on the final defense authorization bill. The measure passed 64-35. A cloture vote effectively moves the legislation forward and shuts off unlimited debate and focusing debate on the underlying question.
Originally, it looked like the Senate would skip the 30 hour debate period, but Senate leadership couldn't work out an agreement so now we go into the homestretch. A full vote is expected this evening or tomorrow morning and the President should sign it into law next week. A formal signing ceremony for hate crimes legislation is not expected since it was passed with a larger defense bill.
HRC's Joe Solmonese quickly shot over a statement:
"While there is strong support for the hate crimes provision, today's cloture vote in the Senate demonstrates that those in the civil rights community need to remain ever vigilant. While the Senate achieved cloture, it is clear that the opposition remains strong. We look forward to final passage when the critical hate crimes legislation will be on its way to the President's desk."
As I write this, Senator Saxby Chambliss (R-GA) is standing at the podium speechifying why he doesn't support hate crimes legislation. The show goes on. We'll keep you up to date as the measure progresses.