On Sunday, Governor Gavin Newsom of California signed a bill into law that would protect minority populations in the Golden State from hate crimes and crack down on those who commit these crimes.
According to a statement released by the governor’s office, Assembly Bill 2282, authored by Assemblymember Rebecca Bauer-Kahan, D-Orinda, evens the penalties for the use of swastikas, nooses, and the burning of crosses. At the moment, setting fire to a cross results in a lower penalty than any of the other two offenses.
The office of the governor has said that people who use any of these three symbols would be subject to the “strongest of these criminal penalties” under AB 2282.
“In this incredibly polarized America with hate crimes on the rise, we shouldn’t differentiate between symbols of racism. Hate is hate,” Newsom said in a video address.
Those who are caught carrying any of these symbols might face a maximum sentence of three years in jail and/or a fine of $15,000.
“We all have to call out this ugliness wherever we see it and make sure hatemongers know their evil has no place… in California,” said Newsom.
On Sunday, the state’s Democratic governor signed Assembly Bill 1664 to increase protections for charities that have been the focus of hate crimes. The State Nonprofits Security Grant Program, which was set to expire in 2025, has been extended thanks to AB 1664.