Bipartisan Legislation Approved Amid Escalation in Hate-Motivated Violence and Calls for More State Resources
- Dana Alpert
- Legislative/Communications Assistant
SACRAMENTO, CA — Today, the California State Legislature advanced a measure authored by Assemblymember Jesse Gabriel (D - Woodland Hills), Chair of the California Legislative Jewish Caucus, to strengthen protections for Californians facing hate-motivated violence. If signed by the Governor, Assembly Bill (AB) 1664 will extend and strengthen California’s Nonprofit Security Grant Program, which is currently set to expire in 2025.
The legislation was initially introduced by members of the Jewish Caucus following the hostage standoff at Congregation Beth Israel in Colleyville, Texas, in January, reflecting a dramatic rise in anti-semitic hate crimes and targeted violence across the United States. A recent report by the California Attorney General shows that hate crimes increased by 89% over the past decade.
“In a world where hate crimes and antisemitism are on the rise, we need more than thoughts and prayers to keep us safe,” said Assemblymember Jesse Gabriel. “This new law will provide critical resources to protect vulnerable communities and sends a powerful message that California stands firmly with those targeted by hate.”
In addition to extending the Nonprofit Security Grant Program, AB 1664 will create more flexibility for how grant funding may be used, including for security training. Notably, Rabbi Charlie Cytron-Walker from Congregation Beth Israel specifically highlighted the security training he had received from local and national organizations in helping to save his life and the lives of three others who were held hostage at his synagogue.
Assemblymember Gabriel authored legislation to establish the Nonprofit Security Grant Program in 2019 in the wake of the deadly shooting at Chabad of Poway, a synagogue in San Diego County. Since then, the program has funded critical security enhancements at religious institutions, LGBTQ community centers, reproductive health facilities, and other nonprofits deemed to be at risk from violent extremism. This year’s state budget included a $50 million allocation for the program, which was secured with the support of leaders and activists representing a broad coalition of vulnerable communities. California has funded a total of $110 million in anti-hate programs.
"In the midst of staggering levels of hate-motivated violence—targeting Jews and all vulnerable communities—we are fortunate to have the California State Nonprofit Security Grant Program to protect at-risk institutions from attacks," said David Bocarsly, Executive Director of the Jewish Public Affairs Committee of California (JPAC). "JPAC co-sponsored Assemblymember Gabriel's bill to establish the program in 2019 because we knew first-hand the value it would provide. Given the overwhelming demand for this resource, we are proud to co-sponsor AB 1664 to extend this program and expand it to include security training. We are incredibly grateful to Assemblymember Gabriel and the Jewish Caucus for championing this legislation yet again, and to the legislature for their overwhelming bipartisan support. Governor Newsom has funded this program in record amounts, and we hope that he continues his legacy of support by signing this crucial bill into law."
The bill now moves to the Governor’s desk, where it must be acted on by September 30th.