Displaying of Hate Symbols on Public Property Banned in NY

Confederate flag on display at the Levittown Fire Department Station 3. (Office of State Senator Anna Kaplan/File)

New Yok banned taxpayer funded municipal organizations from displaying or selling hate symbols on Tuesday.

Kathy Hochul signed the legislation, which was sponsored by State Senator Anna Kaplan and Assemblymember Michaelle Solages. The two wrote the bill in response to two public instances in Nassau and Suffolk counties of firefighters displaying the Confederate flag, which is widely considered a racist symbol.

“As New Yorkers, we must remain united and actively fight to eradicate these attitudes, and this legislation bolsters those efforts,” Governor Hochul said in a statement. “There is no reason for a symbol of hate to ever be on display, let alone by a police or fire department charged with protecting their community.”

The legislation prohibits municipal corporations, towns, cities, villages, fire districts, volunteer fire companies, or police departments from selling or displaying symbols of hate, except when the display is for educational or historical purposes. The term ‘symbols’ includes symbols of White supremacy, neo-Nazi ideology, or the Confederate battle flag.

“You would think it was common sense that taxpayer-owned property couldn’t be used as a platform for hate, but shockingly there was no law on the books saying so–until now,” said bill sponsor Senator Anna Kaplan in a statement. “Public property belongs to all of us, and this measure is critical to ensure that our public property isn’t being used to promote hatred.”

Assemblymember Michaelle Solages said in a statement, “In this time of high polarization, publicly owned entities must maintain their neutrality and ensure their workplaces are apolitical settings for municipal workers and taxpayers alike…no New Yorker should have to interface with symbols of hate when engaging with their local governmental agencies.”


Updated Tuesday, November 2, 2021 at 2:05 pm .