(TRENTON) – Senator Troy Singleton, Assemblyman Herb Conaway and Assemblywoman Carol Murphy announced today that they will be introducing legislation that would create a “Hate Crimes Registry.”
“With this legislation, we are sending a clear message that hate and intolerance is not welcome in any town in New Jersey,” said Singleton. “By requiring those who have been convicted repeatedly of a hate crime to register in a database, we are giving the public insight into who their neighbors are and giving them the ability to stay informed.”
The bill would require the Attorney General to establish a Hate Crimes Registry on the official website of the Department of Law and Public Safety. The searchable registry would contain information concerning defendants who have more than one conviction of a hate crime in the State.
“Recent events have highlighted how pervasive bias intimidation is in our community,” said Conaway. “It is inexcusable to target an individual because of their race, religion, gender, or sexual orientation. This registry is another tool to promote public safety and will help ensure that individuals are aware of those with a history of victimization in their neighborhood.”
“This terrible situation that occurred in Mount Laurel put a hot spotlight on the challenges we have in communities across our state and our country,” said Murphy. “As a long time Mount Laurel resident, I know the good-hearted and kind people that live here, but like all communities, we struggle with individuals that spew hate that do not represent our values, and must hold them accountable. We can by our actions show that we have a zero tolerance approach to hatred, bigotry, bias, racism and sexism by establishing a hate crime registry that will loudly proclaim that we will not stand for those that seek to destroy our neighborhoods and terrorize our residents. Our fight for fairness, equality and justice continues and this legislation is a great step in our resolute march towards progress.”
The County Prosecutors would be required to submit information concerning hate crime offenders within 30 days of their conviction including: name and aliases; date and location of disposition; brief description of the offense; general description of the offender’s modus operandi; age, race, sex, date of birth, height, weight, eye color and any distinguishing scars or tattoos; photograph of the offender; make, model, color, year and license plate for any vehicle the offender operates; and the street address at which the offender resides.
“The State of New Jersey does not stand for bias and hate crimes upon our citizens. We have strict laws that punish people that commit these heinous crimes. After these perpetrators have been adjudicated through our courts, many return to their previous behaviors and actions,” said Burlington County Sheriff Anthony Basantis, who approached Senator Singleton with this legislative proposal. “Unfortunately, there is nothing currently in place that will give someone notice that their new neighbor or co-worker has been convicted of a bias/ hate crime. With the creation of a Hate Crime Registry, these offenders will be required to register in a central database and disclose their home address and pertinent information so the public will be well informed.”
According to the State Police’s Bias Incident Report for 2020, there were 1,441 “bias incidents” in which there was a suspected or confirmed violation of New Jersey’s bias intimidation statute, and the victim was subjected to harassment, assault, terroristic threats, or other specified acts “because of race, color, religion, gender, disability, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, national origin, or ethnicity.”