Governor Hochul’s 2024 State of the State Includes Legislation to Significantly Expand Eligibility for Hate Crime Prosecution.
Governor Kathy Hochul today highlighted her groundbreaking State of the State proposal to expand the list of charges eligible to be prosecuted as hate crimes and announced grant funding to strengthen safety and security measures at nonprofit, community-based organizations at risk of hate crimes or attacks because of their ideology, beliefs, or mission.
“The rising tide of hate is abhorrent and unacceptable – and I’m committed to doing everything in my power to keep New Yorkers safe,” Governor Hochul said. “Since the despicable Hamas attacks of October 7, there has been a disturbing rise in hate crimes against Jewish and Muslim New Yorkers. In recent years we’ve seen hate-fueled violence targeting Black residents of Buffalo and disturbing harassment of AAPI and LGBTQ+ individuals on the streets of New York City. We will never rest until all New Yorkers feel safe, regardless of who they are, who they love, or how they worship.”
“Hate, in all its forms, will not be tolerated in New York,” said Lieutenant Governor Delgado. “With these actions, we are empowering and protecting our most vulnerable communities, ensuring all New Yorkers are able to live their lives free from hate and discrimination. During these challenging times, we will continue to show up for each other. We are making it clear: love will always have the last word in New York.”
Governor Hochul’s 2024 State of the State agenda includes proposed legislation to expand the list of offenses eligible for prosecution as hate crimes. Under current law, there are only 66 offenses that can be charged as hate crimes; legislative language included in the Executive Budget would increase that number to 97, including:
Criminal possession of a weapon
Governor Hochul also announced additional funding for the Securing Communities Against Hate initiative, for a combined $60 million over FY24 and FY25. The Governor secured $25 million in last year’s budget, and is proposing boosting that funding to $35 million – a $10 million increase – in response to recent events. This record funding will allow eligible organizations to request up to $200,000 each for physical security and cybersecurity projects at their facilities. Nonprofit organizations that have previously received security grants may also apply for new projects, including impact protection equipment that is now eligible for funding.
The announcement comes as hate, bias and antisemitic and anti-Muslim incidents persist throughout New York and the nation. Hate crimes adversely and disproportionately affect entire communities, not just the intended targets. While the number of hate crimes reported to police in the state represents a small fraction of total crime, these incidents traumatize and instill fear in the greater community. New York State tracks these incidents separately from other crimes so trends can be monitored, and steps can be taken to prevent them from occurring in the first place.
Police departments and sheriffs’ offices reported 959 hate crimes to the State in 2022, the most reported in the past five years, and a 20 percent increase as compared to 2021. Hate crime data reported by police agencies to the State is available online. While last year’s statewide crime data is still being collected, New York City Police Department reported a 10 percent increase in hate crime incidents from 2022 to 2023 with such incidents more than doubling in the last quarter of the year, according to the agency’s Hate Crimes Dashboard.
Division of Criminal Justice Services Commissioner Rossana Rosado said, “New York State has a long and storied tradition of embracing people from all cultures and walks of life, yet too many individuals, groups and organizations remain targets for crime because of the very diversity they embody. DCJS is proud to help protect our neighbors and communities against hate crimes by providing funding to organizations that know their neighborhoods best so they can continue to safely provide services and safe places for those who may be at risk.”
Division of Human Rights Commissioner Maria L. Imperial said, “Sadly, we are seeing the need for greater security at nonprofit and faith-based community centers that are becoming targets of hate. Everyone – no matter their religion or national origin – should feel safe when they connect with their community, family, friends and neighbors. I applaud Governor Hochul and the team at DCJS for initiating this vital program.”
Established in 2017, the state-funded Securing Communities Against Hate Crimes Grant program seeks proposals for a maximum of $60 million in grants 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.
The funding, which is expected to support up to 300 projects, 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, strengthening cybersecurity, and impact protection enhancements. Funds can also cover costs associated with security training.
In July 2023, DCJS awarded funding to 497 organizations statewide for 1,081 projects totaling $51,729,271, with $8,899,091 going toward 187 cybersecurity projects through the program. This year’s application process has been simplified and streamlined with single grants of up to $200,000 for each organization, as opposed to a maximum of $50,000 for each of four grants permitted for each organization last year.
The deadline for applications is noon on Friday, May 17. The Grants/Funding page of the DCJS website has information about eligibility requirements, instructions, guidelines and additional information. Grant awards are expected to be announced this summer.
This record investment builds on Governor Hochul’s commitment to combatting hate and preventing bias, including:
Launching last fall a new hotline (844-NO-2-HATE) and online form to report hate and bias incidents.
Creating the new Hate and Bias Prevention Unit, chaired by Lieutenant Governor Delgado. The unit oversees a rapid response initiative, which offers support to communities affected by hate or bias incidents and has established anti-bias councils in each region of the state.
Convening the State’s inaugural Unity Summit, bringing together 500 representatives from community organizations, law enforcement, and faith groups for panel discussions and conversations about ways to work together to prevent hate.
Deploying additional staff and funding to the FBI’s Joint Terrorism Task Force, ensuring New York State Police are fully activated to protect against all potential terroristic threats.
Taking on the threats posed by online hate, including calling on social media companies to improve moderation policies and increasing State Police resources to monitor online hate
Expanding the Division of Homeland Security & Emergency Services’ Threat Assessment and Management (TAM) teams to every college campus in New York.
State Senator Brad Hoylman-Sigal said, “As we witness an unprecedented rise in bias-motivated crimes against Jewish, Muslim, Asian American and LGBTQ people, it’s of utmost importance that New York closes the dozens of loopholes in our hate crime statute to send the urgent message that hatred won’t be tolerated in our state. I’m proud Governor Hochul has included the Hate Crimes Modernization Act (S7737), which I introduced with District Attorney Bragg and Assemblymember Lee, in her Executive Budget. This bill will give prosecutors the necessary tools to take appropriate action against hate so we can better protect New Yorkers of differing backgrounds. I urge my colleagues to join us in supporting this vital legislation.”
Assemblymember Grace Lee said, “Addressing hate in New York means giving minority communities stronger protection and representation and holding the perpetrators of hate crimes responsible for their actions. I thank Governor Hochul for prioritizing vulnerable minority communities this year, including by championing the Hate Crimes Modernization Act I introduced with Senator Brad Hoylman-Sigal this past Fall. This year, we will pass a budget that sends a clear message to New Yorkers that hate has no place in our state.”
Assemblymember Simcha Eichenstein said, “We cannot afford to turn a blind eye to the alarming rise in antisemitism and other forms of hate crimes. I thank Governor Hochul for being proactive in ensuring the safety and security of all New Yorkers. Vulnerable communities will sleep better at night knowing that the leadership of New York State has their back, and is committed to continuing its work until we all feel protected, and all those who commit hate crimes have been brought to justice.”
Manhattan District Attorney Alvin L. Bragg, Jr. said, “Hate and bias motivated crimes are continuing to infiltrate our communities, leaving New Yorkers vulnerable and threatening public safety as a whole. Thank you to Governor Hochul for highlighting this critical piece of legislation, which will close loopholes with commonsense fixes, creating a more robust legal framework and giving us the tools necessary to ensure the safety and well-being of all New Yorkers. I am proud to stand with a diverse group of elected officials and advocates as we work to enact this law during this legislative session.”
Queens District Attorney Melinda Katz said, “Queens is the ‘World’s Borough,’ with the most diverse population of any county in the United States. Unprovoked attacks motivated by hate have no place in our communities, or anywhere else in the great state of New York. We would welcome an expansion of the hate crimes statue as it would enhance our ability to prosecute those who do harm fueled by misguided prejudices. I applaud Governor Hochul for her leadership on this important issue.”
UJA-Federation of New York CEO Eric S. Goldstein said, “Governor Hochul’s strong and decisive proposal to expand hate crime legislation is a welcome and necessary effort to ensure the safety and security of all New Yorkers. At a time when anti-Jewish hate crimes continue to surge, this legislation will be a critical tool for helping deter would-be offenders. We thank Governor Hochul for her important leadership in combatting hate and antisemitism in New York.”
Anti-Defamation League New York/New Jersey Regional Director Scott Richman said, “At a time of sharply rising antisemitism and record-high numbers of reported hate nationwide, we applaud Governor Hochul’s commitment to countering hate crimes. For over 40 years, ADL has advocated for comprehensive and inclusive hate crime laws and data collection efforts across the country in coalition with other civil rights organizations. We look forward to working with the Governor and our partners to continue to improve New York’s response to hate crimes.”
Ali Forney Center Executive Director Alexander Roque said, “I am grateful to Governor Kathy Hochul and LG Antonio Delgado for creating space to bring community leaders together to have conversation and build collaboration on responding to hate. LGBTQ+ youth are disproportionately impacted by identity-based hate and violence. Having a place at the table today is a reminder of Hochul’s steadfast commitments to our LGBTQ+ community. “
Equality NY Political Director Melissa Sklarz said, “Today, we proudly stood with Governor Hochul as she proposed legislation that invests in reducing the amount of hate crimes. As the leading LGBTQ advocacy organization with over 5,000 members and 100 coalition partners we know the statewide impacts of this proposal.”
The Asian American Foundation NY Regional Director Eugena Oh said, “The Asian American Foundation looks forward to working with Governor Hochul, her team, and our Asian American and Pacific Islander community leaders here in New York to build towards a safer future for all New Yorkers. Our community is under attack, and has continued to experience violence and harassment at unprecedented rates since early 2020. We appreciate the Governor’s recognition of the need for increased safety for our community, and her commitment to inclusion of AAPI voices in this important work ahead.”
Asian American Bar Association of NY, Anti-Asian Violence Taskforce Chair Chris Kwok said, “Over the last four years, through its Anti-Asian Violence Task Force (AAVTF), AABANY has been studying the sharp rise in hatred and violence against the New York AAPI community. We believe expanding the list of offenses eligible to be prosecuted as hate crimes represents a step in the right direction, and we look forward to continuing our collaboration with the Governor’s office to bring about effective hate crimes prosecution and enforcement,” states Karen Kim, President of the Asian American Bar Association of New York. “We commend the Governor’s efforts to address this serious issue affecting many communities in New York.”
Hispanic Federation President and CEO Frankie Miranda said, “Governor Hochul is taking action that will strengthen New York’s rich diversity and protect communities that have seen an alarming increase in hate crimes. I thank Governor Hochul for prioritizing the safety of our communities, and I look forward to working with the legislature to continue fighting against hate crimes in New York State.”
Jewish Community Relations Council of New York Interim CEO Noam Gilboord said, “JCRC-NY applauds Governor Kathy Hochul’s continued and vigorous efforts to combat hate crimes by expanding the list of offenses eligible for prosecution as a hate crime. The recent surge of antisemitic activity and other forms of hatred in our city is both startling and sickening. In New York City, according to NYPD’s 2023 data, from October to December 2023, hate crimes targeting Jews totaled more than in the entire rest of the year. Governor Hochul has truly delivered on her promise to initiate legislation to further combat antisemitism. This proposal sends a clear and resounding message that hate of any kind is not tolerated in New York.”
Congregation Kehilath Jeshurun Senior Rabbi Chaim Steinmetz said, “Some dismiss antisemitic acts such as tearing down posters, hateful graffiti, and broken windows as small and unimportant. Unfortunately, nothing is small when it is part of the world’s longest hatred. When a society tolerates antisemitism, it can escalate, and open the door for discrimination, persecution, and violence. And we have seen an explosion of antisemitism since October 7th; and we must not let that continue. It means so much to our community that the Governor is determined to crack down on hate crimes, and make every community safer.”
Seva Center for Humanity President Shashi Malik said, “Today’s announcement of expanding the eligibility for hate crime prosecution is very much appreciated in these challenging times for the citizens of New York State. In addition the funding will go a long to provide additional security for at risk religious facilities. Thank you for your leadership and your belief in stopping hate crime.”
The New York State Division of Criminal Justice Services is a multi-function criminal justice support agency with a variety of responsibilities, including law enforcement training; collection and analysis of statewide crime data; maintenance of criminal history information and fingerprint files; administrative oversight of the state’s DNA databank, in partnership with the New York State Police; funding and oversight of probation and community correction programs; administration of federal and state criminal justice funds; support of criminal justice-related agencies across the state; and administration of the State’s Sex Offender Registry. Follow the agency on Facebook and Twitter.
The New York State Division of Human Rights is dedicated to eliminating discrimination, remedying injustice, and promoting equal opportunity, access, and dignity through enforcement of the Human Rights Law. Our vision is a New York free of discrimination where everyone can fulfill their potential and participate fully in the life of the state.
Additionally, the New York State Office of Victim Services funds more than 200 programs across the State that provide services, support and assistance to victims of crime, including hate crimes. The agency also can provide eligible individuals with financial assistance for expenses resulting from being the victim of hate or other crimes. Visit ovs.ny.gov/connect to locate a program.