Sen. Orrin Hatch, R-Utah, has been given top awards by groups representing Jews and the blind.

The American Jewish Committee gave him its Congressional Leadership Award last week for pushing the Hate Crime Statistics Act, which allows tracking trends nationally in crimes against racial, ethnic and religious groups.In a letter to him, the group said, "We believe that without your efforts, especially your skillful work on the floor of the Senate, this bill would not have become law."

The American Foundation for the Blind honored Hatch, Sen. Tom Harkin, D-Iowa, and Rep. Steny Hoyer, D-Md., for their leadership in the recent passage of the Americans with Disabilities Act designed to end discrimination against the disabled.

It wrote Hatch, "It is fitting that AFB honor you and your colleagues whose efforts so closely compliment those of our most famous employee, Helen Keller. In her long and illustrious career at AFB, Miss Keller championed similar landmark legislation."