Gov. Andrew Cuomo wants to crack down on hate-fueled rioting in the aftermath of the violence in Charlottesville, Virginia last weekend.
Cuomo proposed the "Charlottesville provisions" — changes to state law that would establish new hate crimes for inciting to riot or rioting "when directed at a protected class." The charges would apply if a riot targets an individual or group based on several classifications, including age, color, gender, race, religion or sexual orientation.
The bill would establish stiffer penalties for inciting to riot and rioting. For inciting to riot, the charge would be elevated from a class A misdemeanor to a class E felony. Rioting would be a class D felony, up from a class E felony.
While peaceful demonstrations will be permitted, the goal of the legislation is to discourage rallies that encourage violence against certain classes of people.
"Our diversity is our strength and this legislation will help protect New Yorkers and send a clear signal that violence and discrimination have no place in our society," Cuomo said in a statement.
The governor's proposal also seeks to expand the state's human rights law to include public school students.
According to Cuomo's office, a state Court of Appeals decision in 2012 prevents the state Division of Human Rights from investigating reports of discrimination in public schools. The agency does have the authority to investigate discrimination claims at private schools.
The violence in Charlottesville stemmed from a white supremacist rally that was organized to protest the city's planned removal of a statue honoring Confederate General Robert E. Lee.
A member of one white supremacist group is accused of driving his vehicle into a crowd of counter-protesters who gathered in the city. One person died and 19 others were hurt in the attack.
There were 15 other injuries reported in violence Saturday.
The Virginia State Police is also mourning the loss of two state troopers who died in a helicopter crash. The troopers were in a helicopter that was monitoring the protests at the time of the accident.
On Sunday, Cuomo launched a petition urging President Donald Trump to condemn white supremacists. As of Tuesday, 18,300 people have signed the petition, according to the governor's office.
"The ugly events that took place in Charlottesville must never be repeated, and in New York we're going to stand united against hate in all of its forms," Cuomo said.