Assemblyman Colton’s Anti-Swastika Bill Becomes Law
August 1, 2006
The bill introduced by Assemblyman William Colton (D-47 AD) which increases the penalties for vandalizing property with a swastika or burning cross has passed both the State Assembly and the State Senate and signed by the Governor. This legislation was introduced by Assemblyman Colton after he called a meeting of religious leaders and law enforcement officials to discuss an incident whereby a swastika had been painted in the hallway of an apartment building in the neighborhood. The legislation increases the penalty for making a swastika or burning cross with the intent to harass, threaten or alarm another person to a class E felony which is punishable by jail time. Another outcome from the same meeting of neighborhood Priests, Rabbis, Ministers and community leaders was the start of a program to have holocaust survivors present their personal stories to children in the neighborhood schools. One such assembly program was recently completed at St. Athanasius School where a group of holocaust survivors made a presentation to seventh and eighth grade students. “We now have an education program to educate the youngsters to the devastating effects of racial hatred and now, the legislature has passed this legislation that will impose serious jail penalties to those using the hated symbols to threaten and intimidate others”, said the Bensonhurst Gravesend legislator. “I am proud the Assembly, Senate and Governor joined a bipartisan effort to give law enforcement this tool to fight these hate symbols,” the Assemblyman reiterated. The bill was carried in the Senate by Senator Dale Volker (R-59 SD) and signed by Governor George Pataki. This law will take effect immediately.