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Westchester Executive Latimer signs law expanding county's anti-discriminatory harassment law

Westchester County Executive George Latimer signed a law Friday that expands protections for people who are more likely to be victims of hate crimes.

News 12 Staff

Oct 8, 2021, 10:14 PM

Updated 988 days ago

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Westchester County Executive George Latimer signed a law Friday that expands protections for people who are more likely to be victims of hate crimes.
The law expands the county's more than 20-year-old anti-discriminatory harassment law.
"Now if there's discriminatory harassment that occurs on the bus, on the street or between neighbors, in a cul-de-sac, that may be a basis for a complaint," said the Human Rights Commission's Tejash Sanchal.
The new law is supported by a mosaic of advocacy and religious groups in county from African Americans to the Asian community, which has seen an uptick in violence against it, and the Jewish community, which has been the target of antisemitism.
"The Jewish Council stands ready to stand high and strong with leaders in the faith based and ethnic communities in fighting out hate," said the Council's Elliot Forchheimer.
James Young with the county's LGBTQ advisory board said the new law protects many.
"We can take the bus, sit at our local parks, hold our partners' hands on all the main streets, style our hair, not worry about the clothes we wear, not live in fear," Young said.
Officials said the new provisions go beyond even what is in the New York state human rights law.
Latimer hopes tougher penalties in the new law serve as a deterrent against discrimination and hate crimes.
"We want people to know that if they do those things, they run the risk of a penalty and it's not really worth them getting that penalty in order to express some of that anger," Latimer said.
County officials said they are currently looking at how the new law will apply to high schools and colleges.
The new law goes into effect in 60 days.


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