Establishes the homeless protection act which designates certain offenses against homeless persons as hate crimes; includes the definition of homelessness.
TITLE OF BILL: An act to amend the penal law, in relation to designating offenses against homeless persons as hate crimes
PURPOSE OR GENERAL IDEA OF BILL: This bill would protect the homeless from the abuse and attacks often levied against them by designating such attacks as hate crimes.
SUMMARY OF SPECIFIC PROVISIONS: Amends subdivisions 1 and 2 of section 485.05 of the penal law as added by chapter 107 of the laws of 2000 to include "homelessness" as a defining category in groups legally recognized as protected under hate crimes law. Section 2 also defines the term "homelessness" as a set of circumstances in which a person or persons are undomiciled, with no address, regular residence, or resides in a place not designed for regular sleeping accommodation, a shelter, a residential program for victims of domestic violence or in a hotel/motel on a temporary basis.
JUSTIFICATION: In the summer of 2009 the National Coalition for the Homeless released a report documenting a rise in violence against the homeless in the past ten years. Over the last decade there have been approximately 860 attacks, and 244 of them resulted in the victim's death. These unprovoked attacks are often perpetrated by young men with no relation to the victim. They prey on, the homeless precisely because they are vulnerable. These attacks have been as extreme as setting a victim on fire, as well as videotaping attacks to post on the Internet, only further encouraging the maltreatment of the homeless. Designating these attacks as hate crimes emphasizes the humanity of the homeless and challenges the misconception that these are people who have been forgotten.
PRIOR LEGISLATIVE HISTORY: 2009-2010 - S.8032A/A.9222A Remained in the Senate Committee and the Assembly Committee on Codes
FISCAL IMPLICATIONS FOR STATE AND LOCAL GOVERNMENTS: None.
EFFECTIVE DATE: Immediately.
STATE OF NEW YORK ________________________________________________________________________ 918 2011-2012 Regular Sessions IN SENATE (PREFILED) January 5, 2011 ___________Introduced by Sens. BRESLIN, ADAMS, HASSELL-THOMPSON, HUNTLEY, KLEIN, KRUEGER, OPPENHEIMER, PARKER, PERKINS, STAVISKY -- read twice and ordered printed, and when printed to be committed to the Committee on Codes AN ACT to amend the penal law, in relation to designating offenses against homeless persons as hate crimes THE PEOPLE OF THE STATE OF NEW YORK, REPRESENTED IN SENATE AND ASSEM- BLY, DO ENACT AS FOLLOWS: Section 1. Short title. This act shall be known and may be cited as the "homeless protection act". S 2. Subdivisions 1, 2 and 4 of section 485.05 of the penal law, as added by chapter 107 of the laws of 2000, are amended to read as follows: 1. A person commits a hate crime when he or she commits a specified offense and either: (a) intentionally selects the person against whom the offense is committed or intended to be committed in whole or in substantial part because of a belief or perception regarding the race, color, national origin, ancestry, gender, religion, religious practice, age, disability, HOMELESSNESS, or sexual orientation of a person, regardless of whether the belief or perception is correct, or (b) intentionally commits the act or acts constituting the offense in whole or in substantial part because of a belief or perception regarding the race, color, national origin, ancestry, gender, religion, religious practice, age, disability, HOMELESSNESS, or sexual orientation of a person, regardless of whether the belief or perception is correct. 2. Proof of race, color, national origin, ancestry, gender, religion, religious practice, age, disability, HOMELESSNESS, or sexual orientation of the defendant, the victim or of both the defendant and the victim does not, by itself, constitute legally sufficient evidence satisfyingEXPLANATION--Matter in ITALICS (underscored) is new; matter in brackets [ ] is old law to be omitted. LBD04141-01-1 S. 918 2
the people's burden under paragraph (a) or (b) of subdivision one of this section. 4. For purposes of this section: (a) the term "age" means sixty years old or more; (b) the term "disability" means a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits a major life activity; AND (C) THE TERM "HOMELESSNESS" MEANS THE SET OF CIRCUMSTANCES IN WHICH AN INDIVIDUAL OR FAMILY IS UNDOMICILED, HAS NO FIXED ADDRESS, LACKS A FIXED REGULAR NIGHTTIME RESIDENCE, RESIDES IN A PLACE NOT DESIGNED FOR OR ORDINARILY USED AS A REGULAR SLEEPING ACCOMMODATION FOR HUMAN BEINGS (SUCH AS A HALLWAY, BUS STATION, LOBBY OR SIMILAR PLACE), RESIDES IN A HOMELESS SHELTER, RESIDES IN A RESIDENTIAL PROGRAM FOR VICTIMS OF DOMES- TIC VIOLENCE, OR RESIDES IN A HOTEL/MOTEL ON A TEMPORARY BASIS. S 3. This act shall take effect immediately.