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November 3, 2021 1:47 pm

New York Gov Signs Bill Banning Municipal Institutions From Displaying ‘Symbols of Hate’

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Governor Kathy Hochul speaks at a press conference in Midtown Manhattan on October 13, 2021 in New York City. Photo: John Lamparski/NurPhoto via Reuters Connect

New York Governor Kathy Hochul on Tuesday signed a bill that prohibits municipal institutions from displaying hate symbols, including neo-Nazi, white supremacist, or neo-Confederate imagery.

The governor’s office said in a statement that the legislation came in response to two Long Island incidents last year. In one, a Confederate flag was displayed on a fire truck; in the other, a Confederate flag was displayed in the window of a Nassau County fire department.

Such symbols were banned for state institutions in 2020, but not at the municipal level.

“The recent and disgusting rise in racist, homophobic, and hateful behavior will never be tolerated in New York,” Hochul said. “Symbols of hate have no use other than to spread ignorance and incite violence.”

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“There is no reason for a symbol of hate to ever be on display, let alone by a police or fire department charged with protecting their community,” she asserted. “With this law now signed, we aren’t only doing away with this deplorable behavior, but also ensuring that every New Yorker, no matter their background or identity, feels welcome in their community.”

State Sen. Anna M. Kaplan, co-sponsor of the bill, said in a statement, “With hate on the rise around the world and in our own community, it’s more urgent than ever that we take action to eradicate it wherever we find it.”

“You would think it was common sense that taxpayer-owned property couldn’t be used as a platform for hate, but shockingly there was no law on the books saying so — until now,” she said.

Assemblymember Michaelle C. Solages, another co-sponsor, commented, “In this time of high polarization, publicly owned entities must maintain their neutrality and ensure their workplaces are apolitical settings for municipal workers and taxpayers alike.”

“Our state is home to one of the most diverse populations in the world, and no New Yorker should have to interface with symbols of hate when engaging with their local governmental agencies,” she added.

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