Gov. Newsom signs bill establishing hate crime protections

LOS ANGELES — Gov. Gavin Newsom Friday signed a San Fernando Valley lawmaker’s bill to provide security funding to non-profit organizations at risk of hate-motivated violence.

AB 1548, by Assemblymember Jesse Gabriel (D-San Fernando Valley), establishes the state Nonprofit Security Grant Program, which is designed to improve the security of organizations at high risk of violent attacks or hate crimes due to ideology, beliefs or mission.

The legislation builds upon the state’s previous commitment to allocate $15 million to help religious and community-based nonprofits strengthen security in the wake of the April 27 shooting at the Chabad of Poway synagogue that left one person dead and three wounded.

“In a world where hate crimes and antisemitism are on the rise, we need more than thoughts and prayers to keep us safe,” said Gabriel, who serves as vice chair of the California Legislative Jewish Caucus. “This new law will provide critical resources to protect vulnerable communities and sends a powerful message that California stands firmly with those targeted by hate.”

Improving security has become an urgent priority for many communities following a recent surge in violent extremism that has included the deadly shooting at a synagogue in Halle, Germany earlier this week. According to the Center for the Study of Hate and Extremism, members of the LGBTQ community, blacks and Jews remain the most frequent targets for hate-motivated violence, which also threatens Muslims, Sikhs, immigrants, individuals with disabilities and others.

AB 1548 will help protect vulnerable Californians by formally establishing the NSGP under the Governor’s Office of Emergency Services. Funds will be allocated to at-risk nonprofits through a competitive grant program and may be used to fund physical security enhancements and security personnel.

The maximum grant is $200,000 per institution. Many nonprofit institutions, including houses of worship and community centers, operate on extremely tight budgets and would be unable to fund needed security enhancements absent this new program.

AB 1548 passed the Legislature with bipartisan support and was supported by a broad coalition that includes LGBTQ, Jewish, Muslim and Catholic organizations.

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