After Colorado Springs mass shooting, NY Gov. Hochul signs hate crime bills

Jon Campbell

Originally published in Gothamist

Those convicted of hate crimes in New York will soon be required to complete a counseling program aimed at preventing future discriminatory crimes, according to a bill signed into law on Tuesday by Gov. Kathy Hochul.

The new measure changes a single word in state law to require judges to impose the prevention course as part of any hate crime sentence. Previously, judges had the option to impose the course, butweren’t required to do so.

The bill was one of two Hochul signed into law Tuesday that are focused on hate crimes.

The second bill will require Hochul’s administration to launch a statewide campaign promoting “acceptance, inclusion, tolerance and understanding of diversity,” complete with social media promotion and educational materials focused on accepting different races, religions, colors, creeds, ethnicities and more.

The signings came days after a mass shooting at a Colorado Springs LGBTQ club left five dead and two men were arrested in Penn Station for allegedly planning an attack against Jewish people, as well as six months after 10 were killed at a supermarket in a predominantly Black neighborhood of Buffalo.

“Today, we reclaim both (New York City and state) from the haters, the bigots, the white supremacists,” Hochul said during a bill signing event at her Manhattan office. “It starts right here, right now, because New York belongs to the good, not those filled with hate in their hearts.”

So far in 2022, there have been 469 hate crime incidents in New York City, according to NYPD data. That’s up from 414 incidents over the same period last year.

Under the newly signed bills, the diversity campaign — which was sponsored by Democratic state Sen. Anna Kaplan and Assemblymember Charles Lavine, both of Long Island — must take effect by April 1, 2023.

The training requirement for those convicted of hate crimes will take effect in 30 days. The bill was sponsored by state Sen. Toby Ann Stavisky of Queens and Assemblymember Rebecca Seawright of Manhattan.