New York's hate crime laws would be strengthened under legislative changes known as the Charlottesville Provisions being advanced by Governor Andrew Cuomo.
The amendment announced Tuesday by Gov. Cuomo would add the crimes of inciting to riot and targeted rioting against protected classes to the list of offenses punishable under the state's hate crimes law. The Senate and Assembly would need to approve any changes and Sen. Tim Kennedy says he'll be happy to lead the charge. Kennedy says there's no place for bigotry and hatred.
"The despicable acts that we saw transpire on our television sets from Charlottesville, Virginia, is something that we should absolutely all be fighting against, standing up against," Kennedy said.
Increasing the penalties for hate crimes in New York state, he says, would send a message to the rest of the nation.
"And if those perpetrators of neo-Nazism, those perpetrators of hatred and racism and bigotry want to come to our community, and come to our state, then they're going to be met with a united front. Challenging them, calling them out. And if they incite violence they should be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law," Kennedy said.
If approved. the penalties for engaging in rioting would be increased from an E felony to a D felony. And inciting to riot would be increased from a misdemeanor to an E felony.