The legislature passed two laws this year meant to prevent and further prosecute such crimes.
One updates the list of crimes considered to be hateful – it includes cyber-stalking and the electronic sharing of obscene messages. The Attorney General’s office will be able to pursue civil suits on behalf of alleged hate crime victims, and judges will be able to charge up to $25,000 in civil penalties.
Another measure signed into law by the governor removes a cap on restitution for hate crimes that take place in or cause damage to a place of worship. It requires offenders to take classes that discourage such acts and perform at least 200 hours of community service.