On Saturday, a bill signed into law by New York Governor Kathy Hochul (D-N.Y.) went into effect, formally declaring “racism” to be a “public health crisis” in the state of New York, Fox News reports.
The bill was one of many signed by Hochul over the course of November which focused on “racial equity.” This particular law calls for the creation of a “racial equity working group” in the state’s Department of Health that will formally recommend certain legislative action to the state legislature.
“For far too long, communities of color in New York have been held back by systemic racism and inequitable treatment,” Hochul’s office said in a December press release. “I am proud to sign legislation that addresses this crisis head-on, addressing racism, expanding equity and improving access for all.”
Other bills signed by Hochul that dictate similar actions include a law that will enact a “hate crimes analysis and review act,” which will maintain an “accurate and relevant” record of the number of Asian-Americans within the state. The same law also mandates that the term “Asian-American” be specifically broken down by each possible Asian ethnicity, including Chinese, Japanese, Filipino, Korean, Vietnamese, and Cambodian, among others.
Hochul also signed a bill that forces all New York state agency websites to undergo translation into various different languages besides English. Both of the latter bills were sponsored by State Assemblywoman Yuh-Line Niou (D-N.Y.), who praised the passage of both of her own bills.
“While some AAPI communities share traditions or connections based on history or location, the majority of Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders are members of distinct ethnic groups who have their own culture, languages, and needs,” Niou said with regards to the first law. On the second law, she claimed, without evidence, that “Asian-American communities are among the most impoverished in New York,” and that “they also faced some of the toughest headwinds even before the pandemic began while also being unable to navigate critical government services due to a lack of language accessibility.”