Governor Hochul signs Queens lawmaker’s hate crimes bill into law

Toby Ann Stavisky (Courtesy of Stavisky’s office)

State Senator Toby Ann Stavisky’s bill requiring individuals convicted of hate crimes to undergo mandatory counseling in hate crime education and prevention was signed into law by Gov. Kathy Hochul on Tuesday, Nov. 22.

The legislation (S.6570/A.1202), which is also sponsored by Assemblywoman Rebecca Seawright (D-Manhattan), aims to target the basis of hate crimes amid a state and nationwide surge in hate-related attacks. Under this new legislation, these counseling sessions must be authorized by the court or local agencies in cooperation with organizations serving the affected community. The bill will take effect in 30 days.

“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. “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. Domestic-based violent extremism is the greatest threat to our homeland security, and that is why we continue to remain laser-focused on combating hate and keeping New Yorkers safe.” 

Stavisky thanked Hochul for signing the bill and demonstrating that hate has no place in New York. 

We are living in an era of disinformation. Lies and divisive rhetoric are fomenting hatred, and that hatred leads to unprovoked acts of violence,” Stavisky said. “Xenophobia has historically been used as a tool to drive disunity. These attacks are rooted in ignorance and resentment. We must do more than simply punish these attackers. Whether it be neo-Nazis in the subway or hateful extremists in Colorado, it is time to replace hate with education. This legislation will help educate perpetrators in an attempt to help break this troubling cycle.” 

Seawright also commended Hochul for supporting and signing the bill as a distressing rise in threats continues to target Jewish and LGBTQ+ communities and people of color in New York and across the country. 

“We are deeply mourning the victims of yet another violent shooting against LGBTQ+ individuals in Colorado Springs this past weekend. Education is a key antidote to hate and intolerance, and our legislation is aimed at keeping our communities safe. I am proud to stand united with Governor Hochul against the surge in hate crimes in our state of New York,” Seawright said.