With hate crime attacks — especially focused on the Jewish community on the rise — Governor Andrew Cuomo is proposing a new classification for these crimes. The New York Hate Crime Anti-Terrorism Act would include hate crimes as domestic terrorism.
"Just because you didn’t come over on a plane doesn’t mean you’re not a terrorist," said Cuomo during his State Budget Address. "You can be a domestic born and bred terrorist. And let’s have a law that addresses that and call it what it is."
In 2018, there were 252 anti-Jewish incidents statewide. The second-highest number reported in a decade. Cuomo is proposing classifying certain hate crimes under the domestic terrorism law which would carry a life sentence in prison without parole.
It would have to be proven the attack was fueled by hate for a person’s race, color, gender, nationality, religion, and more. It would also have to prove the person killed at least one person and was intending to cause the death of at least five other people.
Senator David Carlucci, who’s district saw the Monsey Hanukkah attack, proposed a similar bill in the legislature with a bit more broader of a definition. Under Carlucci’s bill, a hate crime attack would be classified as domestic terrorism, even if it didn’t result in death.
"The punishment has to be there and maybe it can deter people and that’s why we have to put it forward," explained Senator Carlucci. "But to see situations where it looks like terrorism and feels like terrorism we have to define it and charge people with that crime."
Cuomo’s budget also includes a proposal to add $2 million to support the State Police Hate Crime Task Force. Part of their job is to monitor social media for signs of violence, intolerance, and terrorism.