Kaplan-backed anti-hate symbol legislation passes state Senate

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Legislation to ban hate symbols on public property, introduced by State Sen. Anna Kaplan (D-Great Neck), has passed in the New York State Senate. (Photo by Janelle Clausen)

The state Senate has passed a North Shore lawmaker’s bill aimed at banning hate symbols from being displayed on public property and taxpayer-funded equipment.

The legislation came after Confederate flags were hung in the window of a Nassau County fire department and from the side of a fire truck that appeared in a parade in Suffolk County last year, state Sen. Anna Kaplan’s office said.

The Great Neck Democrat’s bill, originally introduced in February, would prohibit symbols of hate from being sold or displayed on public property. Expanding on legislation enacted last year, the bill would bar municipal corporations, towns, cities, villages, fire districts, volunteer fire companies, or police departments from selling or displaying symbols of hate, except when the display is for educational or historical purposes.

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“In the past year, we have seen hatred and hate fueled violence explode across the country, and it takes us all working together, speaking with one voice, to say that hate has no place in our community, and we will fight back against it every step of the way,” Kaplan said in a statement. “Public property belongs to all of us, and this measure is critical to ensure that our public property isn’t used to promote hatred.”

The legislation passed the Senate on May 25 with a vote of 56-7, and now goes on to the state Assembly where it is expected to be taken up by the Rules committee soon.

Kaplan’s office says the legislation will be sponsored by Assemblywoman Michaelle Solages (D-Elmont) in the state legislature’s lower chamber.

“Now more than ever, it is imperative that New York State stands firm and consistent in our commitment to denouncing hate, bigotry, and intolerance in all its forms,” Solages said in a statement.

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