Today's Law As Amended

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AB-557 Hate crimes: hotline.(2021-2022)

As Amends the Law Today

 The Legislature finds and declares all of the following:
(a) According to recent data from the Southern Poverty Law Center, there are more than 72 hate groups currently operating in California, which is the highest number in the country.
(b) Recent data from the Department of Justice shows that over 1000 hate crimes were reported in 2018. The data also shows that in 2018, hate crimes involving bias against someone who is Jewish increased by 21.2 percent and hate crimes involving bias against someone who is Latino increased by 18.3 percent. Additionally, this data shows that hate crimes with a sexual orientation bias accounted for nearly 22.3 percent of hate crimes reported in 2018, and have been the second most common type of hate crime over the past 10 years.
(c) Anti-Asian rhetoric surrounding the COVID-19 pandemic has led to a spike in verbal and physical assaults against Asian Americans beginning in 2020. According to Stop AAPI Hate, over 2,800 anti-Asian hate incidents have occurred nationwide since February 2020 with over 1,200 of those occurring in California.
(d) In many communities, people lack sufficient trust in local authorities to report hate crimes or hate incidents. A statewide hotline and online form would create important safe spaces to report a hate crime or incident.
(e) Following reports of an increase in hate crimes nationwide, similar hotlines have been established recently in other states and in parts of California, including by the district attorneys’ offices of the City and County of San Francisco and the County of Alameda.

SEC. 2.

 Section 422.94 is added to the Penal Code, immediately following Section 422.93, to read:

 (a) (1) The Attorney General shall establish, maintain, and publicize a toll-free public hotline telephone number for the following purposes:
(A) Reporting hate crimes and connecting with local law enforcement agencies.
(B) (i) Connecting people who have experienced or witnessed a hate crime or hate incident to other appropriate local resources.
(ii) The Attorney General may establish a list of community-based organizations from which to provide referrals pursuant to this subparagraph.
(C) Disseminating information about the characteristics of hate crimes and hate incidents, classes of individuals protected under Chapter 1 (commencing with Section 422.55), civil remedies that may be available for victims of hate crimes, and reporting options.
(2) The hotline shall be accessible to people with disabilities and people who do not speak English.
(3) The hotline shall operate Monday to Friday, inclusive, from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., except for federal holidays and state holidays, as defined in Section 19853 of the Government Code, or as otherwise posted on the Attorney General’s internet website. The hotline, when not in operation, shall provide a recorded message directing callers to dial 9-1-1 in case of an emergency or otherwise to call their local police nonemergency dispatch number. This information shall also be posted on the Attorney General’s internet website.
(4) Callers to the website shall be advised that the filing of a false report is a violation of Section 148.5 of the Penal Code, punishable as a misdemeanor. This information shall also be posted on the Attorney General’s internet website.
(b) The Attorney General shall post, maintain, and publicize a reporting form for hate crimes and hate incidents on their internet website that can be completed and submitted online.
(c) The Attorney General’s internet website shall provide the public with the same resources and information described in paragraph (1) of subdivision (a).