BROOKHAVEN, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) — New York Gov. Kathy Hochul signed legislation Tuesday banning the display of hate symbols on publicly owned entities, like fire and police departments and school districts.
The law was prompted by incidents last year on Long Island, where Confederate flags were hung.READ MORE: SEE IT: Explosion Rocks Home, Sparks Fire Overnight In Cypress Hills; 6 People Hurt
One was paraded on a fire truck amid an uptick in troubling incidents. Swastikas were found at a police athletic league, and a noose at a sanitation yard.
Hochul answered what she called a disgusting rise in racist, hateful behavior, signing into law the ban on hate symbols on publicly funded property.
“We have a lot of volunteer fire departments. We want to make sure people in the community feel good about coming and volunteering and working there,” said State Sen. Anna Kaplan, of North Hempstead.
Yet another flag was flown at a Levittown fire station.
The bill’s sponsors say no one should have to interface with a hate symbol in a place all are equal.
One taxpayer CBS2’s Carolyn Gusoff spoke with Tuesday didn’t see the harm.READ MORE: NYC Schools Chancellor Meisha Porter Stepping Down
“I’m against anyone telling anyone how to think,” East Patchogue resident Angela Ucci said. “It’s a symbol of the South. But the whole South isn’t racist, and the whole South isn’t about slavery, and that’s all long gone.”
Women’s Diversity Network Founder Shanequa Levin said it’s a blatantly divisive symbol.
“It’s horrible for so many different reasons,” she told Gusoff. “They were fighting to keep your people enslaved, to keep my great grandparents, to keep their parents and so forth in chains, shackled, beaten and treated as less than human. That’s the culture and the history that they’re trying to preserve with the Confederate flag.”
The person who posted the Brookhaven picture that went viral told CBS2, “It is the symbol of slave-owning states’ rebellion. It represents racists and traitors to the nation, and has no place on taxpayer-owned property.”
There will be no criminal penalties, but the law gives courts the authority to have signs removed.
Also hanging in the Levittown fire house last year was a Trump banner. Albany is also mulling a ban on political signs on municipal property.
On Election Day, and every day, Kaplan says of course people have a right to their political views, but not to force them on others in taxpayer-funded facilities that belong to everyone.MORE NEWS: NYPD: Officer Fires On Suspect Fleeing Traffic Stop In Brooklyn
The law banning hate symbols takes effect immediately.