New Jersey weighs tougher hate-crime law

January 7, 2008 9:53:25 AM PST
Legislation to toughen the state's hate crime and bullying laws gets final consideration in the Assembly. The measure being considered Monday would amend an existing bias intimidation law by adding the terms "gender identity" and "national origin" to the list of classes of people protected under the statute.

New Jersey's current hate crime law provides protection for individuals based on race, color, religion, gender, handicap, ethnicity and sexual orientation.

The bill also mandates two hours of anti-bias training for police officers, and it requires school districts to update their anti-bullying policies. It also establishes a commission to oversee the effectiveness of anti-bullying programs and to promote training.