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Udall: Defense Bill with Critical Support for Colorado Military Bases Headed to President for Signature

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Location: Washington, DC

As Conferee on the Bill, Udall Fought for Colorado Military Bases, Long-Overdue Provision to Fight Hate Crimes

Today, U.S. Senator Mark Udall, a member of the Senate Armed Services Committee, joined the Senate in approving a final version of a major defense bill that includes critical support for Colorado's military installations as well as a provision to help prevent hate crimes. Now that the bipartisan National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2010 conference report has passed the Senate, it heads to President Obama to be signed into law.

Senator Udall was a member of a conference committee, which worked with the U.S. House of Representatives to merge the House and Senate versions of the bill into the final legislation. As a conferee, Senator Udall helped ensure the bill preserved funding for Fort Carson, the Pueblo Chemical Depot and other Colorado military installations.

"This bill will give our service members a much-deserved pay raise, and it will ensure that Colorado's military bases will get additional resources and badly needed upgrades to their facilities," Senator Udall said. "As a member of the conference committee, I was proud to stand up and fight for Colorado's military bases and troops - and the jobs that go with them."

As a longtime supporter of the Matthew Shepard Hate Crimes Prevention Act, Senator Udall said he also was very happy that the provision to fight hate crimes was included as part of the final Defense Authorization Act Conference Report. The Matthew Shepard act strengthens the ability of federal, state, local, and tribal governments to investigate and prosecute hate crimes based on race, color, national origin, religion, sexual orientation, gender, gender identity, or disability.

"Vicious hate crimes, like the death 11 years ago of Matthew Shepard - or the tragic fatal beating of Angie Zapata in Greeley last year - are an appalling reminder to us all that we need to protect the civil rights of all Americans, regardless of where they live," Senator Udall said. "The bill we approved today would help deter hate crimes from ever happening in the first place, and I'm very glad it will soon become law."

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