On Wednesday January 15th, New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy signed two bills to provide security funding for nonprofit organizations at risk of terrorist attacks and to expand the definition of domestic terrorism.
The first bill plans to increase by $1 million New Jersey’s funding for nonprofits at risk of terrorist attacks, which includes places of worship, as part of the State’s Nonprofit Security Grant Pilot Program.
One of the sponsors of the bill, State Senate President Stephen Sweeney, said, “no individual, group or organization should be left vulnerable to any threats or acts of violence because of their race, religion or heritage.
“Places of worship and any other locations that bring people together will be better protected with this support. We won’t allow bias or hate to intimidate anyone from practicing their religion or honoring their ethnic pride.”
The second bill expands the definition of crime of terrorism to include “persons who commit certain crimes with the purpose to influence or incite an act of terrorism against an individual based on the individual’s race, religion, sexual orientation, gender or creed,” according to a governor’s press release.
Those bills were signed following a rise of hate crimes and antisemitism in the State, including the December 2019 shooting in a kosher supermarket in Jersey City. In fact, a recently released report showed that hate crimes increased by 65% in the state in 2019.
“Our state and our nation are facing a rising tide of antisemitism and other forms of hatred,” said Murphy.