ALBANY, NY — Assemblywoman Amy Paulin (D-88) is proud to announce that A.7198-A/S.5512-A, legislation she authored as a response to bomb threats targeting Jewish community centers across the nation earlier this year, was signed into law by Governor Andrew Cuomo on Monday.
The bill amends the penal law to include community centers in the definition of a “public place” as it relates to bomb threats and other offenses against public order. Paulin was spurred into action after bomb threats in February forced evacuations of two community centers in Westchester, including the JCC of Mid-Westchester of which she and her family are members. About 200 people were evacuated from the JCC of Mid-Westchester, including 100 children who attend the center’s early childhood program.
There have been more than 100 bomb threats called in to Jewish community centers nationwide since the beginning of 2017, actions that coincide with the recent dramatic rise in anti-Semitic crime.
The series of bomb threats not only disrupted everyday activities and put strains on tight-knit communities, but also created questions about the role of government in addressing and stanching these threats of violence.
“Protecting our residents is my highest priority. The increase in hate crimes has shaken communities across the state and most recently here at home, the JCC of Mid-Westchester, where my kids went to nursery school. We must use every means possible, including legislation, to thwart acts of hatred everywhere,” Paulin said.
Patrick Gallivan (R-59) sponsored the bill in the Senate.