Our Thoughts: New Legislation Strengthens Hate Crimes Investigation and Reporting Requirements

Senior investigator Jessica Rinaldi shares her thoughts on recently passed New York State Legislation:

“From my past professional experience as deputy chief of the Hate Crimes Unit at the New York County District Attorney’s Office, current professional experience as a Senior Investigator and Facilitator at EPT Legal, LLC, and lived experience as a proud and out trans New Yorker, I know firsthand how important it is to be seen and counted.  This is especially true when it comes to representation, visibility, allocation of resources, awareness, and expanding social consciousness.  Governor Kathy Hochul (New York State Executive Chamber) recently signed legislation that will strengthen both the investigation and reporting requirements for hate crime incidents that occur on college campuses in New York State (as well as provide much-needed funding to strengthen safety and security measures at nonprofits and community-based organizations at risk of hate crimes or attacks). 

Governor Hochul signed into law S.2060-A/A.3694-A, which amends the state’s Education Law to require colleges to review current policies and procedures for educating campus communities about bias-related and hate crime, reporting hate crimes, and assisting victims and survivors during hate crime investigations.  This legislation also updates the procedure for the dissemination of information related to campus crime statistics and specifically requires both the reporting and posting of hate crime offenses.  This information must now be available on a college’s website.  Colleges are also required to adopt a plan providing for the investigation of hate crimes on campus and how to inform incoming students about hate crime prevention measures.  The legislation goes a step further and creates a clear obligation on the part of colleges to investigate potential hate crimes and to report them to law enforcement agencies.  This will help inform policies and responses to bias-based actions and incidents. 

As a Senior Investigator and Facilitator at EPT Legal, LLC, I combine my prior experience as a hate crimes prosecutor with my current role as an independent workplace investigator to assist and advise companies, universities, and other organizations with respect to their societal and legal obligations in addressing and investigating reports of hate crime.  If you have any questions arising from this new legal development or are a university facing a hate-crime allegation, we can help.”