Governor Kathy Hochul has announced actions to prevent hate crimes, promote tolerance, and protect New Yorkers. The Governor signed two pieces of legislation to support hate crime prevention and education efforts, building on the administration’s efforts to increase funding to protect targets of hate crimes and increase surveillance and protection for communities at risk. The first piece of legislation requires individuals convicted of hate crimes to, in addition to other penalties, undergo mandatory training or counseling in hate crime prevention and education. The second establishes a statewide campaign for the acceptance, inclusion, tolerance, and understanding of diversity, including, but not limited to diversity based on religion, race, color, creed, sex, ethnicity, national origin, age, disability, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression. Governor Hochul also encouraged community-based organizations to apply for $50 million in available funding to strengthen safety measures and protect against hate crimes, and extended the deadline for applications.
“Our hearts are broken after a weekend during which LGBTQ Americans were massacred and Jewish New Yorkers were targeted in horrific acts of hateful violence,” Governor Hochul said. “New York belongs to the good, not those with hate in their hearts – we’re taking bold action to reclaim our city and state from the haters, bigots and white supremacists. Domestic-based violent extremism is the greatest threat to our homeland security, and that is why we continue to remain laser-focused on combatting hate and keeping New Yorkers safe.”
“We are sending a clear message that we protect all individuals that call New York home,” said Lieutenant Governor Antonio Delgado. “Amidst this rise in bigotry and violence in New York and across the nation, we are bolstering our response to prevent hate crimes before they happen to ensure all New Yorkers can live without fear.”
Both pieces of legislation promote educational initiatives, which serve as key tools to further tolerance and acceptance, and in turn help keep communities safe from hateful acts and violence.
Legislation (S.6570/A.1202) amends the penal law to establish that in addition to other penalties, individuals convicted of hate crimes shall undergo mandatory training in hate crime prevention and education as part of their sentence. The programs, training sessions, or counseling sessions must be authorized by the court or local agencies in cooperation with organizations serving the affected community.
State Senator Toby Ann Stavisky said, “We are living in an era of disinformation. Lies and divisive rhetoric are fomenting hatred, and that hatred is leading to unprovoked acts of violence. Xenophobia has historically been used as a tool to drive disunity. These attacks are rooted in ignorance and resentment. We must do more than simply punish these attackers. Whether it be neo-Nazis in the subway or hateful extremists in Colorado, it is time to replace hate with education. This legislation will help educate perpetrators in an attempt to help break this troubling cycle. I want to thank Governor Hochul for signing this legislation and demonstrating that hate has no place in New York.”
Assemblymember Rebecca Seawright said, “Hate has no place in New York State. In response to the disturbing rise in hateful acts of violence, including attacks on my district office, I introduced Assembly Bill 1202 to mandate “anti-hate” training, education and counseling for every person convicted of a hate crime. I thank and commend Governor Kathy Hochul for supporting and signing this important legislation as we are witnessing a distressing rise in threats to Jewish and LGBTQ+ communities and people of color in New York and across the country. We are deeply mourning the victims of yet another violent shooting against LGBTQ+ individuals in Colorado Springs this past weekend. Education is a key antidote to hate and intolerance, and our legislation is aimed at keeping our communities safe. I am proud to stand united with Governor Hochul against the surge in hate crimes in our State of New York,”
Legislation (S.123A/A.5913A) amends the executive law to establish and implement a statewide campaign for the acceptance, inclusion, tolerance, and understanding of diversity. The campaign, which will be developed and implemented by the Division of Human Rights, will coordinate and cooperate with public and private organizations, including, but not limited to, local governments, community groups, school districts, places of worship, charitable organizations, and foundations and will develop educational materials to be published on the internet, social media, and other platforms to reach the public.
State Senator Anna M. Kaplan said, “As a Jewish refugee who came to this country fleeing antisemitic violence in my homeland, my heart aches over the explosion of hate and extremist fueled violence that we’ve seen in this country since the pandemic. I’ve been proud to stand up and fight back against hate at every opportunity, but we need to do more, and this legislative package is an important first step to make clear that hate has no place in New York State. I’m grateful for the Governor’s efforts to tackle this crisis head-on, and I appreciate her signing my bill into law today.”
Assemblymember Charles D. Lavine said, “I commend Governor Hochul for signing this legislation which will protect the safety of New Yorkers. Thanks to the governor, my bill requiring museums to acknowledge art stolen from the Jewish community during the Nazi Era in Europe, is also now law. The best way to fight all forms of hate is through education, and its legislation like this which will help reduce the abhorrent crimes we continue to see on a regular basis.”
These legislative efforts build upon $246 million in federal funding that Governor Hochul announced in October to support homeland security preparedness, counterterrorism, and emergency preparedness efforts across New York, as well as $96 million in combined State and Federal funding announced earlier this month to safeguard nonprofit, community-based organizations at risk of hate crimes and attacks.
Administered by the New York Division of Criminal Justice Services (DCJS), the state-funded Securing Communities Against Hate Crimes program is currently seeking proposals for $50 million, which is anticipated to support approximately 1,000 projects across the state. The Governor announced that DCJS is now extending the application deadline from January 31, 2023 to February 28, 2023 for this program, so more interested, eligible organizations can apply.
Created in 2017, the program provides funding to strengthen security measures and prevent hate crimes against nonprofit community and civic centers, cultural museums, day care centers, and other nonprofit organizations that may be vulnerable because of their ideology, beliefs, or mission. This funding can be used to support exterior or interior security improvements, including but not limited to lighting, locks, alarms, panic buttons, fencing, barriers, access controls, shatter-resistant glass and blast-resistant film, public address systems, and for the first time, measures to strengthen cybersecurity. Funds can also cover costs associated with security training. To date, a total of $83.1 million has been awarded to more than 600 nonprofit organizations to support approximately 1,700 projects.
DCJS will accept applications for up to $50,000 per project; each eligible organization may submit up to three applications for a maximum of $150,000. An eligible organization also may submit a separate application for up to $50,000 to fund a cybersecurity project. Applications must be submitted to DCJS by Tuesday, February 28, 2023. Visit the Grants/Funding page of the DCJS website for eligibility requirements, instructions, guidelines and additional information.
Governor Hochul has also recently provided direct support to public safety and preparedness programs in the form of $9 million in targeted Homeland Security Grant Funding for bomb squads, hazardous materials teams, explosive detection canine teams, tactical teams, technical rescue, critical infrastructure protection, local government cybersecurity, and urban search and rescue teams throughout New York. She has also directed $10 million in state grant funds to support county governments as they develop domestic terrorism prevention plans and threat assessment and management teams in the wake of the horrific white supremist attack on the Tops Market in Buffalo in earlier this year. DHSES has also launched the first state based Domestic Terrorism Prevention Unit and will require each county in the state to develop and submit a domestic terrorism prevention plan to DHSES by December 31, 2023 in an effort to stop hate crimes before they happen when the worst harm has already been done.
At Governor Hochul’s direction, New York State Police has increased protection for communities at risk of hate crimes. The State Police remains in contact with the New York Police Department and will continue outreach to LGBTQ communities across New York, as well as to synagogues and other Jewish community spaces in the state. The State Police now has 97 investigators who have been through extensive training in bias-related crimes stationed across the state dedicated to hate crime investigations, more than double the number in place 6 years ago. Over the course of those 6 years, State Police handled more than 1,700 investigations into reported hate crimes.
This weekend, MTA Police, State Police, the NYPD, and the FBI Joint Terrorism Task Force collaborated to arrest two armed men at Pennsylvania Station in Manhattan who are accused of traveling to the City with plans to cause violence towards the Jewish community. Increased resources provided by Governor Hochul to the State Police and the New York State Intelligence Center contributed to these arrests.
Governor Hochul also announced she will convene a Unity Summit to bring together community and government partners to stand against hate, violent extremism, and discrimination. The Unity Summit will be held in the coming months and follow regional listening sessions, which will be supported by the New York State Police, Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Services, Division of Criminal Justice Services, and Division of Human Rights.
State, local, and federal partners, community-based and faith leaders, and advocates will convene at the summit to share policies, programs, and practices to build safer and stronger communities where hate has no place. Participants will also present on their extensive efforts to address hate-motivated crimes, prevent the spread of violent extremism, and promote unity and reconciliation.