Gov. Baker signs bill creating state hate crimes task force

AP National News

BOSTON (AP) — Massachusetts Republican Gov. Charlie Baker signed a bill Tuesday creating a state hate crimes task force.

The task force is charged with advising state leaders on issues relating to hate crime, including its prevalence, ways to prevent it, and how to best support victims.

The task force is also charged with promoting “full and effective cooperation and coordination among law enforcement agencies and communities affected by hate crimes” to help improve prevention, investigation and prosecution and to develop best practices related to technical assistance for school districts that may seek to incorporate hate crime education into their curricula.

Among the task force’s other responsibilities is recommending policies to ensure state and local governments provide enhanced support for victims of hate crimes and their communities; aiding law enforcement agencies in reporting hate crimes including assistance in gathering, analyzing, and publishing hate crime data; and recommending appropriate legislation, regulations, policies or procedures to help better combat it.

Under the new law, the task force must include representatives of victim assistance agencies, advocates for communities affected by hate crimes, individuals with expertise, and representatives from state, local, or university police departments.

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