NY Senate Republicans want antisemitism laws

Mar. 27—Members of the New York State Senate Republican Conference Antisemitism Working Group, including Sen. Peter Oberacker, R-Schenevus, on Wednesday unveiled a report on antisemitism. The group also sent a letter to Gov. Kathy Hochul and legislative majorities that "highlights legislative recommendations that should be a priority in order to address the rise of antisemitism in communities," according to a media release from Oberacker's office.

"Heinous, violent acts in the name of antisemitism have been on the rise in New York and we must take decisive action to halt these disturbing crimes," Oberacker said. "I want to thank those from the Jewish community who were instrumental in helping develop this legislative package — working together, we have developed true solutions. Now it is time for Albany to make these bills an immediate priority to ensure no one comes under attack because of their faith or religion."

With the Senate and Assembly expected to vote on the state budget, the working group is urging the adoption of five priority legislative initiatives in the enacted state budget:

—S.3275: places a definition of antisemitism within the state human rights law; provides that antisemitism that incites, causes or results in any act of violence, or injury to a person, or the damage to or destruction of real or personal property, shall be deemed to constitute a hate crime;

—S.7752: prohibits students from receiving money from the Tuition Assistance Program if engaging in antisemitic behavior;

—S.7773: creates the "Dismantling Student Antisemitism (DSA) Act", which implements antisemitism awareness and prevention sensitivity training in colleges with threat of loss of funding;

—S.8625: enacts the "New York State Antisemitism Vandalism Act" which establishes the crime of vandalism of pro-Israel print and provides a class A misdemeanor for any individual who intentionally destroys, damages, removes any banner, poster, flyer or billboard which is located in a public space, where the intent or purpose of such banner, poster, flyer or billboard is to bring awareness for Israeli individuals who have been victims of a crime, or to positively support the country or citizens of Israel; and

—S.8774, sponsored by Oberacker, which expands the prohibition of harassing conduct involving Nazi symbols.

"In recent weeks I have heard many people at the Capitol say that the state budget is about priorities. If that is true, then let's show New Yorkers, especially those of the Jewish faith, that ending Antisemitism is a priority by adding these bills to the state budget," Oberacker said.