Governor Newsom Signs Bill Establishing Commission on the State of Hate

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For Immediate Release: October 8, 2021

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Los Angeles, California: California’s Governor Gavin Newsom signed Assembly Bill 1126 into law today, establishing the first-ever Commission on the State of Hate. The bill, authored by Assemblymember Richard Bloom, and sponsored by ICAN, represents the organization’s signature legislative effort in California as part of its overall agenda to combat antisemitism.

“We’re grateful to Assemblymember Bloom for believing in our vision for this legislation and hope that the Commission serves as a place for all Californians to come together and combat the hate that undermines our Golden State, ” said Dillon Hosier, CEO at ICAN. “We thank the legislature for its support and Governor Newsom for signing this important bill into law.”

The bill establishing the Commission on the State of Hate was designed partly in response to the disturbing trend of hate crimes targeting the Jewish community over the past several years. Just this past May 2021, the trend culminated in an incident where Jewish men eating at a restaurant in Los Angeles were beaten, and at the same time just a few streets away another Jewish man was harassed and chased through the streets. 

“Over the past several years we have witnessed a shocking spike in hate crimes targeting California’s Jewish and Israeli communities,” said Vered Elkouby Nisim, ICAN California Chair. “This new law provides a platform where our Jewish and Israeli communities can participate, have a voice, and be empowered to work directly with California’s leaders to find new solutions to combat antisemitism and other forms of hate.”

The legislation was a priority bill for California’s Legislative Jewish Caucus and was co-sponsored by Assembly Members Gabriel, Bauer-Kahan, Nazarian, and Ward.

The Commission will examine all forms of hate and its establishment comes at a time when hate crimes have reportedly risen by 31% in California according to the state’s Attorney General. This disturbing statistic is a result of rising hate crimes targeting Asian Americans during the pandemic with the Black community bring the number one target in California overall, reflecting an 87% increase over last year.

As part of its overall goals and objectives, the nine-member body will:

  • Provide resources and assistance to the Department of Justice, the office of the Attorney General, the Office of Emergency Services, federal, state, and local law enforcement agencies, and the public on the state of hate in order to keep these entities and the public informed of emerging trends in hate-related crime.
  • Engage in fact-finding, data collection, and the production of annual reports on the state of hate and hate-related crimes.
  • Collaborate with other subject-matter experts in the fields of hate, public safety, and other related fields to gain a deeper understanding to monitor and assess trends relative to the state of hate or hate-related crime.
  • Advise the Legislature, the Governor, and state agencies on policy recommendations to do all of the following:
    • Promote intersocial education designed to foster mutual respect and understanding among California’s diverse population.
    • Suggest and prescribe recommended training for state officials and staff to recognize and address dangerous acts of hate and intolerance.

In addition, the Commission will produce an Annual State of Hate report that will:

  1. Provide a comprehensive accounting of hate crime activity statewide and report on relevant national hate crime trends and statistics.
  2. Make recommendations to improve the practices, resources, and relevant training available to and used by law enforcement statewide to respond to and reduce instances of hate crimes.
  3. Make recommendations for actions to be taken by the Governor and the Legislature, including, but not limited to, policy solutions and legislation that will help the state respond to and reduce instances of hate crimes.
  4. Make recommendations for actions to be taken by communities that will help respond to and reduce instances of hate crimes.
  5. Identify existing tools, practices, resources, and training that have proven successful in other states and countries that may be implemented by state law enforcement, the Governor, the Legislature, relevant state departments and agencies, and communities throughout the state in order to respond to and reduce instances of hate crimes.

The bill was supported by a broad coalition of organizations including:

American Jewish Committee – Los Angeles, Armenian National Committee of America – Western Region, Anti-Defamation League, Asian Law Alliance, California Asian Pacific American Bar Association, Center for the Study of Hate & Extremism – CSU, San Bernardino, City of Compton, City of West Hollywood, Council for American-Islamic Relations, Courage California, Equality California, Feminist Majority, Hadassah, The Women’s Zionist of America, Inc., Holocaust Museum LA, Iranian American Jewish Federation, Islamic Networks Inc., Israeli-American Civic Action Network, Jewish Public Affairs Committee,  Jews United for Democracy & Justice, Los Angeles, African American Women Political Action Committee, Los Angeles County Democrats, Muslim Public Affairs Council, National Association of Social Workers, California Chapter, Network Contagion Research Institute, Orange County Human Relations Council, Pathpoint, Sacramento Jewish Community Relations Council, Sikh Coalition, Simon Weisenthal Center, Inc., The Arc and United Cerebral Palsy California Collaboration, The Unique Women’s Coalition

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About ICAN: The Israeli-American Civic Action Network is dedicated to empowering Israeli immigrants and American allies to create change for a better America, a more secure Israel, and a stronger U.S. – Israel alliance through advocacy education and civic action. Learn more at IsraelUSA.org.

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