California Gov Newsom signs anti-Asian hate bills

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Protest against anti-Asian hate in San Francisco
Protest against anti-Asian hate in San Francisco organized by China Mac AsAmNews photo

California Governor Gavin Newsom Tuesday signed two bills targetting hate and harassment against Asian Americans, Pacific Islanders, women and all people of color.

Sponsored by Stop AAPI Hate, SB 1161 requires the collection of data on the harassment faced by these groups on public transit as the first step towards finding meaningful solutions.

“No Californian should feel unsafe on public transit, yet study after study shows that a majority of women, seniors, LGBTQ+ riders, and other vulnerable populations experience street harassment or worse while commuting,” said Sen. Dave Min (D-Irvine), the author of the bill.

The latest report from Stop AAPI Hate found that 40 percent of hate incidents reported to the group occurred on the street or in public spaces. 9 percent happened on public transit.

Stop AAPI Hate graphic

Min’s bill directs the Mineta Transportation Institute at San Jose State University to create a survey with the goal of gaining a better understanding on why these hate incidents keep happening and to ultimately propose solutions.

The data-driven approach focuses on rider experiences and overall experiences with safety, including street harassment.

AB 2448, also signed by Newsom, calls on the state’s Civil Rights Department to develop the first program geared towards incentivizing businesses to create a safe environment for customers. 27% of all hate crimes reported to Stop AAPI Hate happened in businesses.

“Customers have the right to feel safe in businesses, and workers need training on ensuring that,” said Asm. Phil Ting (D-San Francisco). “Right now,
our state’s civil rights laws do not adequately protect people who
are verbally harassed and intimidated while grocery shopping or eating
at a restaurant. My bill allows businesses to lead the fight against
hate and create more welcoming and safe spaces for all
Californians.”

Information collected would be made public, empowering customers to choose to patronize businesses that have taken a strong stand to keep them safe.

Both bills become effective January 1, 2023.

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