Connecticut Seal

General Assembly

File No. 654

    January Session, 2017

Substitute House Bill No. 5743

House of Representatives, April 20, 2017

The Committee on Judiciary reported through REP. TONG of the 147th Dist., Chairperson of the Committee on the part of the House, that the substitute bill ought to pass.

AN ACT CONCERNING HATE CRIMES.

Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives in General Assembly convened:

Section 1. Section 46a-58 of the general statutes is repealed and the following is substituted in lieu thereof (Effective October 1, 2017):

(a) It shall be a discriminatory practice in violation of this section for any person to subject, or cause to be subjected, any other person to the deprivation of any rights, privileges or immunities, secured or protected by the Constitution or laws of this state or of the United States, on account of religion, national origin, alienage, color, race, sex, gender identity or expression, sexual orientation, blindness, mental disability or physical disability.

(b) Any person who intentionally desecrates any public property, monument or structure, or any religious object, symbol or house of religious worship, or any cemetery, or any private structure not owned by such person, shall be in violation of subsection (a) of this section. For the purposes of this subsection, "desecrate" means to mar, deface or damage as a demonstration of irreverence or contempt.

(c) Any person who places a burning cross or a simulation thereof on any public property, or on any private property without the written consent of the owner, and with intent to intimidate any person or group of persons, shall be in violation of subsection (a) of this section.

(d) Any person who places a noose or a simulation thereof on any public property, or on any private property without the written consent of the owner, and with intent to intimidate or harass any other person on account of religion, national origin, alienage, color, race, sex, gender identity or expression, sexual orientation, blindness, mental disability or physical disability, shall be in violation of subsection (a) of this section.

(e) [Any] (1) Except as provided in subdivision (2) of this subsection, any person who violates any provision of this section shall be guilty of a class A misdemeanor and shall be fined not less than one thousand dollars, except that if property is damaged as a consequence of such violation in an amount in excess of one thousand dollars, such person shall be guilty of a class D felony and shall be fined not less than one thousand dollars.

(2) Any person who violates the provisions of this section by intentionally desecrating a house of religious worship (A) shall be guilty of a class D felony and shall be fined not less than one thousand dollars if property is damaged as a consequence of such violation in an amount up to and including ten thousand dollars, and (B) shall be guilty of a class C felony and shall be fined not less than three thousand dollars if the property damaged as a consequence of such violation is in an amount in excess of ten thousand dollars.

(3) The minimum amount of any fine imposed by the provisions of this section may not be remitted or reduced by the court unless the court states on the record its reasons for remitting or reducing such fine.

(4) The court may order restitution for any victim of a violation of this section pursuant to subsection (c) of section 53a-28.

Sec. 2. Subsection (a) of section 53a-30 of the general statutes is repealed and the following is substituted in lieu thereof (Effective October 1, 2017):

(a) When imposing sentence of probation or conditional discharge, the court may, as a condition of the sentence, order that the defendant: (1) Work faithfully at a suitable employment or faithfully pursue a course of study or of vocational training that will equip the defendant for suitable employment; (2) undergo medical or psychiatric treatment and remain in a specified institution, when required for that purpose; (3) support the defendant's dependents and meet other family obligations; (4) make restitution of the fruits of the defendant's offense or make restitution, in an amount the defendant can afford to pay or provide in a suitable manner, for the loss or damage caused thereby and the court may fix the amount thereof and the manner of performance; (5) if a minor, (A) reside with the minor's parents or in a suitable foster home, (B) attend school, and (C) contribute to the minor's own support in any home or foster home; (6) post a bond or other security for the performance of any or all conditions imposed; (7) refrain from violating any criminal law of the United States, this state or any other state; (8) if convicted of a misdemeanor or a felony, other than a capital felony under the provisions of section 53a-54b in effect prior to April 25, 2012, a class A felony or a violation of section 21a-278, 21a-278a, 53a-55, 53a-56, 53a-56b, 53a-57, 53a-58 or 53a-70b or any offense for which there is a mandatory minimum sentence which may not be suspended or reduced by the court, and any sentence of imprisonment is suspended, participate in an alternate incarceration program; (9) reside in a residential community center or halfway house approved by the Commissioner of Correction, and contribute to the cost incident to such residence; (10) participate in a program of community service labor in accordance with section 53a-39c; (11) participate in a program of community service in accordance with section 51-181c; (12) if convicted of a violation of subdivision (2) of subsection (a) of section 53-21, section 53a-70, 53a-70a, 53a-70b, 53a-71, 53a-72a or 53a-72b, undergo specialized sexual offender treatment; (13) if convicted of a criminal offense against a victim who is a minor, a nonviolent sexual offense or a sexually violent offense, as defined in section 54-250, or of a felony that the court finds was committed for a sexual purpose, as provided in section 54-254, register such person's identifying factors, as defined in section 54-250, with the Commissioner of Emergency Services and Public Protection when required pursuant to section 54-251, 54-252 or 54-253, as the case may be; (14) be subject to electronic monitoring, which may include the use of a global positioning system; (15) if convicted of a violation of section 46a-58, as amended by this act, 53-37a, 53a-181j, as amended by this act, 53a-181k, as amended by this act, or 53a-181l, as amended by this act, participate in an anti-bias [crime education program] or diversity awareness program or participate in a program of community service designed to remedy damage caused by the commission of a bias crime or otherwise related to the defendant's violation; (16) if convicted of a violation of section 53-247, undergo psychiatric or psychological counseling or participate in an animal cruelty prevention and education program provided such a program exists and is available to the defendant; or (17) satisfy any other conditions reasonably related to the defendant's rehabilitation. The court shall cause a copy of any such order to be delivered to the defendant and to the probation officer, if any.

Sec. 3. Section 53a-61aa of the general statutes is repealed and the following is substituted in lieu thereof (Effective October 1, 2017):

(a) A person is guilty of threatening in the first degree when such person (1) (A) threatens to commit any crime involving the use of a hazardous substance with the intent to terrorize another person, to cause evacuation of a building, place of assembly or facility of public transportation or otherwise to cause serious public inconvenience, or (B) threatens to commit such crime in reckless disregard of the risk of causing such terror, evacuation or inconvenience; (2) (A) threatens to commit any crime of violence with the intent to cause evacuation of a building, place of assembly or facility of public transportation or otherwise to cause serious public inconvenience, or (B) threatens to commit such crime in reckless disregard of the risk of causing such evacuation or inconvenience; (3) commits threatening in the second degree as provided in section 53a-62, as amended by this act, and in the commission of such offense such person uses or is armed with and threatens the use of or displays or represents by such person's words or conduct that such person possesses a pistol, revolver, shotgun, rifle, machine gun or other firearm; or (4) violates subdivision (1) or (2) of this subsection with the intent to cause an evacuation of a building or the grounds of a (A) house of religious worship, (B) religiously-affiliated community center, (C) public or nonpublic preschool, school or institution of higher education, or (D) day care center, as defined in section 19a-87g, during operational, preschool, school or instructional hours or when a building or the grounds of such house of worship, community center, preschool, school, [or] institution or day care center are being used for the provision of religious or community services, or house of worship, community center, preschool, school, [or institution-sponsored] institution or day care center-sponsored activities. No person shall be found guilty of threatening in the first degree under subdivision (3) of this subsection and threatening in the second degree upon the same transaction but such person may be charged and prosecuted for both such offenses upon the same information.

(b) For the purposes of this section, "hazardous substance" means any physical, chemical, biological or radiological substance or matter which, because of its quantity, concentration or physical, chemical or infectious characteristics, may cause or significantly contribute to an increase in mortality or an increase in serious irreversible or incapacitating reversible illness, or pose a substantial present or potential hazard to human health.

(c) Threatening in the first degree is a class D felony, except that a violation of subdivision (4) of subsection (a) of this section is a class C felony.

Sec. 4. Section 53a-62 of the general statutes is repealed and the following is substituted in lieu thereof (Effective October 1, 2017):

(a) A person is guilty of threatening in the second degree when: (1) By physical threat, such person intentionally places or attempts to place another person in fear of imminent serious physical injury, (2) (A) such person threatens to commit any crime of violence with the intent to terrorize another person, or (B) such person threatens to commit such crime of violence in reckless disregard of the risk of causing such terror, or (3) violates subdivision (1) or (2) of this subsection and the person threatened is in a building or on the grounds of a (A) house of religious worship, (B) religiously-affiliated community center, (C) public or nonpublic preschool, school or institution of higher education, or (D) day care center, as defined in section 19a-87g, during operational, preschool, school or instructional hours or when a building or the grounds of such house of worship, community center, preschool, school, [or] institution or day care center are being used for the provision of religious or community services, or house of worship, community center, preschool, school, [or institution-sponsored] institution or day care center-sponsored activities.

(b) Threatening in the second degree is a class A misdemeanor, except that a violation of subdivision (3) of subsection (a) of this section is a class D felony.

Sec. 5. Section 53a-181j of the general statutes is repealed and the following is substituted in lieu thereof (Effective October 1, 2017):

(a) A person is guilty of intimidation based on bigotry or bias in the first degree when such person maliciously, and with specific intent to intimidate or harass another person because of the actual or perceived race, religion, ethnicity, disability, sex, sexual orientation or gender identity or expression of such other person, causes [serious] physical injury to such other person or to a third person.

(b) Intimidation based on bigotry or bias in the first degree is a class C felony, for which three thousand dollars of the fine imposed may not be remitted or reduced by the court unless the court states on the record its reasons for remitting or reducing such fine.

Sec. 6. Section 53a-181k of the general statutes is repealed and the following is substituted in lieu thereof (Effective October 1, 2017):

(a) A person is guilty of intimidation based on bigotry or bias in the second degree when such person maliciously, and with specific intent to intimidate or harass another person or group of persons because of the actual or perceived race, religion, ethnicity, disability, sex, sexual orientation or gender identity or expression of such other person or group of persons, does any of the following: (1) Causes physical contact with such other person or group of persons, (2) damages, destroys or defaces any real or personal property of such other person or group of persons, or (3) threatens, by word or act, to do an act described in subdivision (1) or (2) of this subsection, if there is reasonable cause to believe that an act described in subdivision (1) or (2) of this subsection will occur.

(b) Intimidation based on bigotry or bias in the second degree is a class D felony, for which one thousand dollars of the fine imposed may not be remitted or reduced by the court unless the court states on the record its reasons for remitting or reducing such fine.

Sec. 7. Section 53a-181l of the general statutes is repealed and the following is substituted in lieu thereof (Effective October 1, 2017):

(a) A person is guilty of intimidation based on bigotry or bias in the third degree when such person, with specific intent to intimidate or harass another person or group of persons because of the actual or perceived race, religion, ethnicity, disability, sex, sexual orientation or gender identity or expression of such other person or persons: (1) Damages, destroys or defaces any real or personal property, or (2) threatens, by word or act, to do an act described in subdivision (1) of this subsection or advocates or urges another person to do an act described in subdivision (1) of this subsection, if there is reasonable cause to believe that an act described in said subdivision will occur.

(b) Intimidation based on bigotry or bias in the third degree is a class [A misdemeanor] E felony, for which one thousand dollars of the fine imposed may not be remitted or reduced by the court unless the court states on the record its reasons for remitting or reducing such fine.

Sec. 8. (NEW) (Effective October 1, 2017) (a) There shall be a State-Wide Hate Crimes Advisory Council within the Office of the Chief State's Attorney, for administrative purposes only. Members of the council shall include (1) the following, or their designees: The Chief State's Attorney; the Chief Public Defender; the Commissioner of Emergency Services and Public Protection; the president of the Connecticut Bar Association; the president of the George W. Crawford Black Bar Association; the president of the South Asian Bar Association of Connecticut; the president of the Connecticut Asian Pacific American Bar Association; the president of the Connecticut Hispanic Bar Association; and the president of the Connecticut Police Chiefs Association; and (2) no more than thirty appointed by the Governor who are representatives of organizations committed to decreasing hate crimes, improving diversity awareness or representing the interests of groups within the state protected by sections 53a-181j to 53a-181l, inclusive, of the general statutes, as amended by this act.

(b) The Governor shall appoint two chairpersons of such council from among the members of the council.

(c) The council shall meet at least semiannually to encourage and coordinate programs to increase community awareness and reporting of hate crimes and to combat such crimes and make recommendations for any legislation concerning such crimes, including, but not limited to, recommendations concerning restitution for victims of such crimes, community service designed to remedy damage caused by any such crime or that is related to the commission of any such crime and additional alternative sentencing programs for first time offenders and juvenile offenders.

(d) Not later than October 1, 2018, and annually thereafter, the council shall report, in accordance with the provisions of section 11-4a of the general statutes, its recommendations to the joint standing committees of the General Assembly having cognizance of matters relating to the judiciary and public safety.

Sec. 9. (NEW) (Effective October 1, 2017) (a) The Commissioner of Emergency Services and Public Protection shall publicize and provide for the operation of a toll-free hotline that is able to receive and respond to text messages and telephonic calls. The hotline staff shall provide and respond to requests for information and resources from persons reporting crimes involving incidents of harassment or intimidation of a person or persons because of the actual or perceived race, religion, ethnicity, disability, sex, sexual orientation or gender identity or expression of such other person or persons. The hotline staff shall direct a person to the proper law enforcement agency, if appropriate, and support services available locally to such person in the case of any such crime or incident. The commissioner shall ensure that staff who operate the hotline are trained to be knowledgeable about federal, state and municipal hate crimes laws and law enforcement resources and support services applicable to the needs of such person reporting or impacted by any such crime or incident and available locally to address such needs. The commissioner shall ensure that the hotline is accessible to persons with limited English proficiency and persons with disabilities and that any personally identifiable information that a person provides to hotline staff is not disclosed to any other person, agency or entity, without such person's consent.

(b) Any fine collected pursuant to section 46a-58 of the general statutes, as amended by this act, and sections 53a-181j to 53a-181l, inclusive, of the general statutes, as amended by this act, shall be used for the purposes of publicizing and operating the hotline established pursuant to subsection (a) of this section.

Sec. 10. Section 54-85b of the general statutes is repealed and the following is substituted in lieu thereof (Effective October 1, 2017):

(a) An employer shall not deprive an employee of employment, penalize or threaten or otherwise coerce an employee with respect to employment, because (1) the employee obeys a legal subpoena to appear before any court of this state as a witness in any criminal proceeding, (2) the employee attends a court proceeding or participates in a police investigation related to a criminal case in which the employee is a crime victim, or attends or participates in a court proceeding related to a civil case in which the employee is a victim of family violence, as defined in section 46b-38a, (3) a restraining order has been issued on the employee's behalf pursuant to section 46b-15, (4) a protective order has been issued on the employee's behalf by a court of this state or by a court of another state, provided if issued by a court of another state, the protective order shall be registered in this state pursuant to section 46b-15a, [or] (5) the employee is a victim of family violence, as defined in section 46b-38a, or (6) the employee is absent for up to sixteen hours in any calendar year because the day care, as defined in section 19a-87g, or school of such employee's minor child is closed or evacuated due to a threat of violence against the building or premises of such day care or school or the staff of or children who attend such day care or school. For the purposes of this section, "crime victim" means an employee who suffers direct or threatened physical, emotional or financial harm as a result of a crime or an employee who is an immediate family member or guardian of (A) a person who suffers such harm and is a minor, physically disabled, as defined in section 46a-51, or incompetent, or (B) a homicide victim.

(b) Any employer who violates subdivision (1) of subsection (a) of this section shall be guilty of criminal contempt and shall be fined not more than five hundred dollars or imprisoned not more than thirty days, or both.

(c) If an employer discharges, penalizes or threatens or otherwise coerces an employee in violation of subsection (a) of this section, the employee, not later than one hundred eighty days from the occurrence of such action, may bring a civil action for damages and for an order requiring the employee's reinstatement or otherwise rescinding such action. If the employee prevails, the employee shall be allowed a reasonable attorney's fee to be fixed by the court.

Sec. 11. Section 51-279d of the general statutes is repealed. (Effective October 1, 2017)

This act shall take effect as follows and shall amend the following sections:

Section 1

October 1, 2017

46a-58

Sec. 2

October 1, 2017

53a-30(a)

Sec. 3

October 1, 2017

53a-61aa

Sec. 4

October 1, 2017

53a-62

Sec. 5

October 1, 2017

53a-181j

Sec. 6

October 1, 2017

53a-181k

Sec. 7

October 1, 2017

53a-181l

Sec. 8

October 1, 2017

New section

Sec. 9

October 1, 2017

New section

Sec. 10

October 1, 2017

54-85b

Sec. 11

October 1, 2017

Repealer section

Statement of Legislative Commissioners:

In Section 8, the date for the first annual report was added for clarity.

JUD

Joint Favorable Subst.

 

The following Fiscal Impact Statement and Bill Analysis are prepared for the benefit of the members of the General Assembly, solely for purposes of information, summarization and explanation and do not represent the intent of the General Assembly or either chamber thereof for any purpose. In general, fiscal impacts are based upon a variety of informational sources, including the analyst's professional knowledge. Whenever applicable, agency data is consulted as part of the analysis, however final products do not necessarily reflect an assessment from any specific department.


OFA Fiscal Note

State Impact:

Agency Affected

Fund-Effect

FY 18 $

FY 19 $

State Comptroller - Fringe Benefits1

GF - Cost

Less than 57,000

Less than 57,000

Correction, Dept.; Judicial Dept. (Probation)

GF - Potential Cost

See Below

See Below

Department of Emergency Services and Public Protection

GF - Cost

Less than 175,000

Less than 175,000

Resources of the General Fund

GF - Potential Revenue Gain

See Below

See Below

Note: GF=General Fund

Municipal Impact: None

Explanation

The bill increases the penalty for certain crimes and results in a potential cost for increased incarceration or probation. To the extent that offenders are prosecuted for expanded offenses under this bill, potential costs for incarceration or probation supervision in the community or judicial revenue would result. On average, it costs the state $7,260 (including benefits) to supervise an inmate in the community as opposed to $61,320 (including benefits) to incarcerate an offender.

The bill increases the minimum fine for certain crimes and results in a potential revenue gain. However, there have been no fines collected for the crimes specified in the past five years.

There is a fiscal impact to the Department of Emergency Services and Public Protection (DESPP) resulting from the bill, which requires that the agency establish a hate crimes hotline. To the extent that DESPP will need to hire up to three employees to staff the hotline, which will presumably be open 24 hours a day, at a cost of less than $175,000 annually for salary and administrative costs. In addition, this will result in a cost of less than $57,000 annually for fringe benefits.

While the bill calls for the hotline to be funded by revenue from any penalties for crimes outlined in the bill, it is expected such revenue will be minimal, and therefore, insufficient to cover the above costs. There have been no fines collected for the crimes specified in the past five years.

The Out Years

The annualized ongoing fiscal impact identified above would continue into the future subject to inflation and the number of violations.

OLR Bill Analysis

sHB 5743

AN ACT CONCERNING HATE CRIMES.

SUMMARY

This bill makes several changes to the hate crime laws, including enhancing penalties in some cases. Among other things, the bill:

EFFECTIVE DATE: October 1, 2017

1 — DEPRIVATION OF RIGHTS AND DESECRATION OF PROPERTY

The bill makes various changes to the elements of certain hate crimes that deprive someone of their rights, as well as enhances penalties for deprivation of rights and desecration of property.

Deprivation of Rights

By law, it is a crime to deprive someone of any legally-guaranteed right because of his or her religion, national origin, alienage, color, race, sex, gender identity or expression, sexual orientation, blindness, or mental or physical disability. Existing law specifies that placement of a burning cross or a noose on another person's property are two types of this crime.

Under current law it is a crime to place a burning cross or simulation of one on public property, or on private property without the written consent of the owner. The bill makes this a crime only if the person acted with the intent to intimidate someone or a group of people.

It is also a crime under current law to place a noose or simulation of one on public property, or on private property without the written consent of the owner, and with the intent to harass someone because of his or her religion, national origin, alienage, color, race, sex, sexual orientation, blindness, or physical disability. The bill adds “gender identity or expression” and “mental disability” to the list of protected classes.

Desecration of Property

By law, unchanged by the bill, it is also a hate crime to intentionally desecrate any public property, monument, or structure; religious object, symbol, or house of worship; cemetery; or private structure.

Enhanced Penalties

Under current law, the crimes described above are class A misdemeanors, but class D felonies if there is more than $1,000 in property damage. The bill enhances this penalty by imposing a minimum fine of $1,000 whether the crime is a misdemeanor or a felony.

By law, a class A misdemeanor is punishable by up to one year imprisonment, a fine up to $2,000, or both; a class D felony is punishable by up to five years imprisonment, a fine up to $5,000, or both.

The bill further enhances the penalty for these crimes if the offender intentionally desecrates a house of religious worship (see Table 1 below).

Table 1: Intentional Desecration of a House of Religious Worship

Classification

Property Damage

Resulting from the Crime

Minimum Fine

under the Bill

Class D felony

(up to five years in prison,

a fine up to $5,000, or both)

$10,000 or less

$1,000

Class C felony

(one to 10 years in prison,

a fine up to $10,000, or both)

more than $10,000

$3,000

The bill prohibits the court from canceling or reducing the minimum fines unless the court states on the record its reasons for doing so. The bill also allows the court to order the offender to pay financial restitution to the victim.

2 — CONDITIONS OF PROBATION AND CONDITIONAL DISCHARGE

By law, a court, as a condition of probation or conditional discharge, may require an offender to participate in certain programs if he or she is convicted of (1) a bigotry or bias crime; (2) deprivation of rights, desecration of property, or cross burning; or (3) deprivation of a person's civil rights by a person wearing a mask or hood.

Under current law, the court may require such an offender to participate in an anti-bias crime education program. The bill instead allows the court to require the offender to participate in (1) an anti-bias or diversity awareness program or (2) a community service program designed to remedy damage caused by the commission of a bias crime or otherwise related to the defendant's violation.

3 & 4 — THREATENING CRIMES

1st Degree Threatening

By law, 1st degree threatening includes threats to commit a violent crime or a crime using a hazardous substance with intent to cause, or with reckless disregard of the risk of causing, (1) evacuation of a building, place of assembly, or public transportation facility; (2) serious public inconvenience; or (3) for hazardous substance crimes, terror in a person.

The bill increases the penalty for such 1st degree threatening from a class D felony to a class C felony, if the threat was made with intent to cause the evacuation of the building or grounds of a house of religious worship, religiously-affiliated community center, or day care center during operational hours or when such buildings or grounds are being used to provide religious or community services or for house of worship-, community center-, or day care center-sponsored activities.

By law, unchanged by the bill, such 1st degree threatening is already a class C felony if the threat was made with the intent to cause the evacuation of a preschool, school, or institution of higher education.

2nd Degree Threatening

By law, a person is guilty of 2nd degree threatening when he or she (1) intentionally places or attempts to cause someone to fear imminent serious physical injury by physical threat or (2) threatens to commit a violent crime with intent to terrorize someone or in reckless disregard of the risk of doing so.

The bill increases the penalty for this crime from a class A misdemeanor to a class D felony if the threatened person was in the building or on the grounds of a house of religious worship, religiously-affiliated community center, or day care center during operational hours or when such buildings or grounds are being used to provide religious or community services or for house of worship-, community center-, or day care center-sponsored activities.

By law, such 2nd degree threatening is already a class D felony if the threatened person was in the building or on the grounds of a preschool, school, or higher education institution.

5-7 — INTIMIDATION BASED ON BIGOTRY OR BIAS

The bill makes the following changes to the crimes of 1st, 2nd, and 3rd degree intimidation based on bigotry or bias (see BACKGROUND):

Table 2: Intimidation Based on Bigotry or Bias

Crime

Classification

under Current Law

Classification

under the Bill

Minimum Fine

under the Bill*

1st degree

Class C felony

(one to 10 years in prison,

a fine up to $10,000, or both)

Unchanged

$3,000

2nd degree

Class D felony

(up to five years in prison,

a fine up to $5,000, or both)

Unchanged

$1,000

3rd degree

Class A misdemeanor

(up to one year in prison,

a fine up to $2,000, or both)

Class E felony

(up to three years in prison, a fine up to $3,500, or both)

$1,000

*Unless the court states on the record its reasons for canceling or reducing the minimum fine.

8 & 11 — STATE-WIDE HATE CRIMES ADVISORY COUNCIL

The bill eliminates the existing Hate Crimes Advisory Committee and replaces it with a new State-Wide Hate Crimes Advisory Council within the Office of the Chief State's Attorney.

The council must meet at least semiannually to encourage and coordinate programs to increase community awareness, reporting, and combating of hate crimes. (The Hate Crimes Advisory Committee has a similar mission.)

Members and Appointments

The council's members include the following individuals, or their designees:

The governor must also appoint the council's two chairpersons from among its members.

Recommendations and Reporting

The bill requires the council to make recommendations for any legislation concerning hate crimes, such as:

The council must report its recommendations to the Judiciary and Public Safety committees annually starting October 1, 2018.

9 — TOLL-FREE HOTLINE

The bill requires the DESPP commissioner to establish a toll-free hotline to receive and respond to text messages and telephone calls from people reporting hate crimes.

Referral and Resources

The hotline staff must direct the person reporting the crime to the proper law enforcement agency, if appropriate, and locally available support services.

The commissioner must ensure that the hotline is accessible to people with limited English proficiency and persons with disabilities.

Confidentiality

Under the bill, any personally identifiable information that a person provides to hotline staff is confidential and must not be disclosed without the reporting person's consent.

Training

The commissioner must ensure that staff who operate the hotline are trained on federal, state, and municipal hate crime laws; law enforcement resources; and support services applicable to and available locally to address the needs of a person reporting or impacted by any such crime or incident.

Funding

To publicize and operate the hotline, the commissioner must use fines collected from offenders who commit hate crimes involving deprivation of rights, desecration of property, cross burning, bigotry, or bias.

10 — EMPLOYMENT PROTECTION FOR WITNESSES AND CRIME VICTIMS

The bill prohibits an employer from depriving, penalizing, threatening, or coercing an employee with respect to employment if the:

Existing law prohibits an employer from doing so for other reasons, including situations where the employee (1) obeys a subpoena as a witness in a criminal proceeding, (2) is a family violence victim, or (3) has a restraining or protective order issued on his or her behalf.

BACKGROUND

1st Degree Intimidation

Under existing law, a person commits the 1st degree crime of intimidation based on bigotry or bias if he or she maliciously and with specific intent to intimidate or harass another person because of that person's actual or perceived race, religion, ethnicity, disability, sexual orientation, or gender identity or expression causes serious physical injury to that person or a third person.

2nd Degree Intimidation

Under existing law, a person commits the 2nd degree crime if he or she acts maliciously with specific intent to intimidate or harass another person because of that person's actual or perceived race, religion, ethnicity, disability, sexual orientation, or gender identity or expression by:

3rd Degree Intimidation

Under existing law, a person commits the 3rd degree crime if he or she, with specific intent to intimidate or harass a person or group of people because of their actual or perceived race, religion, ethnicity, disability, sexual orientation, or gender identity or expression (1) damages, destroys, or defaces any property or (2) threatens to do so by word or act or advocates or urges another person to do so and gives the victim reasonable cause to believe the act will occur.

COMMITTEE ACTION

Judiciary Committee

Joint Favorable Substitute

Yea

38

Nay

1

(04/03/2017)

TOP

1 The fringe benefit costs for most state employees are budgeted centrally in accounts administered by the Comptroller. The estimated active employee fringe benefit cost associated with most personnel changes is 38.08% of payroll in FY 18 and FY 19.