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San Diego Leaders Announce AB 3024: New Legislation to Curb Hate Littering in California

For immediate release:
San Diego Political Leaders Announce AB 3024: New Legislation to Curb Hate Littering in California

(SACRAMENTO, CA) – Hate littering, or distributing flyers, posters, or symbols with hateful messaging targeting protected communities, has become more prevalent in recent years. These forms of propaganda have rapidly become a preferred tactic of hate groups because it maximizes personal impact, while allowing the perpetrators to attempt to remain anonymous in the shadows. Assemblymember Chris Ward, joined by San Diego City Councilmember Raul Campillo, San Diego Mayor Todd Gloria, and San Diego City Attorney Mara Elliott, announced new legislation to address this practice with AB 3024: The Stop Hate Littering Act.  

“These are not just pieces of paper with words,” said Assemblymember Ward (D-San Diego). “These are deliberate, targeted attacks that are intended to harass and intimidate victims, dehumanizing them based on their religion, gender or sexual orientation, or other characteristic. They are being left on our windshields, in our driveways, and on our front doors. They have no place in our communities.”

According to the Anti-Defamation League, the spread of anti-Semitic flyers is part of a rising trend of anti-Semitic hate. The organization found that in 2023, there were more than 3,600 anti-Semitic acts of assault, vandalism and harassment in the United States — the highest year on record for such incidents since it began tracking them in 1979. At least eight instances of anti-Semitic flyers being distributed on car windshields in San Diego neighborhoods were documented in 2023. Also in 2023, anti-Armenian hate flyers were distributed throughout neighborhoods in Los Angeles, and more recently, hate flyers were distributed throughout neighborhoods in Fresno.

“Antisemitism and hate of all forms are not welcome in San Diego or anywhere in California – period,” said San Diego City Councilmember Raul Campillo “Assemblymember Chris Ward has been an excellent partner in proposing legislation to combat hateful flyers like the ones that have plagued my district. I’m pleased that we have been able to take this important legislation statewide, rather than just in the city of San Diego, so that we are able to protect as many people as possible.”

In 2022, Attorney General Rob Bonta released his annual Hate Crime in California Report, which highlighted a 20% increase in hate motivated crime events from 2021 to 2022. Unfortunately, the tactic of hate littering has proved extremely hard for law enforcement to prosecute because it currently exists in a legal grey area. The Stop Hate Littering Act will make necessary updates to existing law by building on the Ralph Act of 1976 (which states that all persons have the right to be free from violence and intimidation) to ensure victims are provided adequate protections, civil recourse, and create new legal tools for law enforcement to hold offenders accountable and deter hate act activity.

“This struggle started with the cowardly distribution of flyers designed to terrorize our Jewish neighbors and divide our city,” said San Diego City Attorney Mara Elliott. “Today, I want to honor the courage of the Jewish community and the Anti-Defamation League, who worked with Councilmember Campillo, my office, and Assemblymember Ward to find a solution. They took on this fight for all of us, because they understand a threat against one community is a threat against every community. We saw that again when these hateful groups also targeted the LGBTQ+ community. This announcement today is a lesson to anyone hoping to divide San Diego: You cannot do it; We will not let you; You will always end by bringing us closer together.”

“I’m proud to support Assemblymember Ward’s Stop Hate Littering Act, which will help ensure that cowards who attempt to anonymously threaten people and make communities live in fear will face consequences for their hateful behavior,” said San Diego Mayor Todd Gloria. “Distributing hate literature is an affront to the principles of respect, inclusivity and diversity that define our city and state — and that we must work to protect.”

The Stop Hate Littering Act will next be heard in the Assembly Judiciary Committee in early April.