Jewish groups urge passage of California hate crimes legislation

New bill would strengthen existing hate crime protections and require improved training and coordination for law enforcement.

Dan Verbin, Canada ,


Jewish groups and legislators in California are urging Governor Gavin Newsom to sign a hate crime bill.

With a state attorney general report revealing that hate crimes have risen 31 percent in the state over last year, and with Jewish residents the most frequently targeted religious group at 64 percent, the groups are calling for action, reported JWeekly.

On September 8 and 9, Assembly Bill 57 unanimously passed both houses of the California legislature, and was sent to Newsom’s desk for signing, where it must be signed or vetoed by the governor by October 10.

The bill was put forward by Assembly member Jesse Gabriel, who is the chair of the California Legislative Jewish Caucus.

The bill “strengthens hate crime protections by requiring better coordination and improved training for law enforcement,” said Gabriel on Twitter.

It also mandates that law enforcement personnel become educated on hate crimes by experts in the field, and it directs local agencies to include information about religious hate crime in their hate crime policies.

“This bill would include a statement of legislative findings and declarations and require the basic course curriculum on the topic of hate crimes to be developed in consultation with subject matter experts, as specified,” the legislation states.

It seeks to redress several major concerns about how the state in the past, according to the state auditor, has failed to adequately identify, report and prosecute hate crimes.

The California chapter of the Anti-Defamation League has supported the passage of the measure, hailing its importance since its introduction 10 months ago.

“We are very interested in bills in California and elsewhere that will improve law enforcement training [and] data collection, that will help encourage communities and individuals to report [hate crimes] in the first place,” Nancy Appel, the ADL’s California legislative director, told JWeekly. “It’s a major piece in the overall fight against hate crime.”

With Newsom anticipated to be signing the bill soon, Gabriel told JWeekly that he’s “hopeful that people will see the steps California is taking to strengthen its response to hate crimes, because this certainly isn’t a problem that’s just confined to California.”