On Tuesday, November 22nd, New York Governor Kathy Hochul signed two bills to fight against hate crimes. The first bill requires that those found guilty of committing a hate crime complete a counseling program that seeks to prevent them from committing further hate crimes. The bill will see a change in the wording of old legislation which previously allowed a judge the discretion to decide whether a person convicted of a hate crime would attend the program or not. Now, the option will no longer be applicable as it will be mandatory for the convicted person to attend the counseling program. This requirement will take effect 30 days after the signing of the bill.
The second bill signed into law by Governor Hochul is one that requires the state to launch an awareness campaign on “acceptance, inclusion, tolerance, and understanding of diversity.” The campaign will include social media and educational material meant to teach residents of New York about the various races, religions, ethnicities, and more, found in the state. This diversity campaign will go into effect on April 1, 2023.
According to NYPD data, the occurrence of hate crimes in New York City has increased when compared to the same period last year. So far in 2022, 469 hate crimes have occurred within the state. “Today, we reclaim both (New York City and state) from the haters, the bigots, the white supremacists,” Hochul said. “It starts right here, right now, because New York belongs to the good, not those filled with hate in their hearts.”
Governor Hochul signed the new bills into law at a time when there is a worrying occurrence of hate crimes across the U.S. An LGBTQ+ nightclub was attacked by a gunman in Colorado Springs, resulting in the deaths of five people. In New York City, an LGBTQ bar in Hell’s Kitchen had a brick thrown through its window four times in the last month. Two men were arrested at Penn Station while allegedly plotting to bomb a synagogue.