In light of the rising tide of hate that has exploded across the country since the pandemic era, New York State Senator Anna M. Kaplan (D-Port Washington) is calling on Governor Kathy Hochul to sign her anti-hate legislative package into law without delay. The package includes two bills, S.123a, which combats hate through education by establishing a statewide campaign to promote acceptance, inclusion, tolerance, and understanding of diversity, and S.7658, which prohibits the cancellation or increase in cost of an insurance policy due to an individual being the victim of a hate crime.
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 it’s time for the Governor to sign my anti-hate legislative package to combat hate through education, and to support those who have been victims of hate crimes.”
The bill package is more important than ever as we have seen a nationwide increase in hate crimes since the pandemic era, and New York City has seen a sharp uptick in hate crimes in New York in 2022.
The first bill, S.123a, seeks to combat hate through education by establishing a statewide campaign to promote acceptance, inclusion, tolerance, and understanding of diversity. The campaign would increase awareness and promote the acceptance and understanding of the diversity of the people of New York, including diversity based on religion, race, color, creed, sex, ethnicity, national origin, age, disability, sexual orientation, gender identity, or expression.
The ultimate purpose of the campaign is to combat bias, hatred, and discrimination in all their forms, and prevent discrimination based on religion, race, color, creed, sex, ethnicity, national origin, age, disability, sexual orientation, gender identity and expression. The State will coordinate the campaign with public and private sources, develop materials to be published online, create social media campaigns, and other means.
The bill passed the State Senate and Assembly in March, 2022, and would take effect on April 1, 2023 if signed into law by Governor Hochul.
The second bill, S.7658, seeks to support hate crime victims in their time of need by prohibiting the cancellation or increase in cost of an insurance policy due to an individual being the victim of a hate crime. Specifically, it prohibits an insurer issuing policies in New York from canceling, raising the premium, refusing to issue, or refusing to renew a policy solely on the basis that one or more claims have been made against the policy during the preceding sixty months for a loss that is the result of a hate crime committed against the person or property insured if the insured provides evidence to the insurer that the act causing such loss is a hate crime.
For example, a Jewish person who has had a swastika etched into their car by vandals would be protected against their auto insurance being cancelled or their premiums raised due to this act of vandalism. As another example, a house of worship that has been the victim of vandalism on their property would be protected from cancellation of their policy due to these instances of vandalism.
The legislation seeks to bring peace of mind to victims of hate by removing the fear that if they report a claim, they may lose their insurance coverage or face unduly burdensome rate hikes. Further, it helps to remove some of the barriers that continue to exist that prevent victims from coming forward and reporting hate crimes.
The bill passed the State Senate and Assembly in May 2022, and would take effect immediately if signed into law by Governor Hochul.