(November 23, 2022 / JNS) New York Governor Kathy Hochul, who has come under criticism for her response to crime, on Tuesday signed two laws that support hate crime prevention and education efforts.
The laws — one which requires individuals convicted of hate crimes to undergo mandatory training or counseling, and the second which establishes a statewide campaign for the acceptance, inclusion, tolerance, and understanding of diversity — come after Hochul’s Jewish Republican opponent in the state’s recent gubernatorial election targeted her record on crime.
Hochul also encouraged community-based organizations to apply for $50 million in available funding to strengthen safety measures and protect against hate crimes.
“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,” Hochul said in a statement. “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.”
In his campaign against Hochul, U.S. Rep. Lee Zeldin had aimed to take advantage of the perception that Hochul and New York Democrats were weak on crime and positioned himself as the law-and-order candidate. Despite his loss, Zeldin message especially resonated with the state’s many Orthodox and Haredi neighborhoods, where increased crime usually also means a dramatic rise in anti-Semitic assaults on visible Jews and their property. Zeldin himself was assaulted during a campaign event in July and targeted with an anti-Semitic death threat in June.
New York Assemblymember Rebecca Seawright added regarding the laws signed on Tuesday, “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.”
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