After recent high-profile incidents in Connecticut, Democratic lawmakers and local advocates hope to strengthen Connecticut’s hate crime laws.
At a press conference in Hartford, state Senator Gayle Slossberg said that hate crimes cause people to feel unnecessarily fearful and anxious.
"Hate has no place in Connecticut," said Slossberg, "and this legislation says we mean it."
The proposal raises the penalties for hate crimes from misdemeanors to felonies, and also includes the creation of a Hate Crimes Advisory Council, as well as a hate crime hotline and "text line."
Senate President Martin Looney said the proposal would make Connecticut’s hate crime laws the strongest in the nation.
"The proposal this year will make Connecticut a national leader in the fight against these despicable acts, and serve as a model for other states looking to combat hate crimes based on bigotry and bias," Looney said.
In recent months, Connecticut has experienced bomb threats to two Jewish Community Centers and a racial slur that was painted on a Stamford resident’s garage.