Governor Hochul’s 2024 State of the State Includes Legislation to Significantly Expand Eligibility for Hate Crime Prosecution

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:

Making graffiti
Gang assault
First-degree rape
Criminal possession of a weapon
Sex trafficking
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.

Gov. Kathy Hochul. (Mike Groll/Office of Governor Kathy Hochul)