Executive Order

Executive Order  No. 578: Reaffirming and Restructuring the Governor's Task Force on Hate Crimes

Date: 11/06/2017
Issuer: Governor Charlie Baker
Mass Register: No. 1353
Revoking and Superseding: Executive Order No. 401
Rescinded by: Executive Order No. 603

Table of Contents

WHEREAS, the Governor's Task Force on Hate Crimes was initiated by letter from  Governor William Weld in 1991 to coordinate and give priority to state implementation of the Hate Crimes Reporting Act;

WHEREAS, the Task Force brought together law enforcement officials and advocates for affected communities in a cooperative effort to improve law enforcement effectiveness in responding to hate crimes;

WHEREAS, the task force in 1994 to 1996 led the successful legislative effort to amend the Hate Crimes Penalties Act to expand its scope and increase penalties for those who commit hate crimes;

WHEREAS, the task force was formalized in 1997 by Governor Paul Cellucci in Executive Order 401, and had great success in focusing the attention of state and local law enforcement on the prevention and prosecution of hate crimes;

WHEREAS, in recent years the United States has experienced a number of horrific violent hate crimes and numerous reports of racist, anti-semitic, anti-gay, and anti-immigrant episodes;

WHEREAS, the most recent reported data document that the Commonwealth experienced 424 hate crimes in 2015, including 133 episodes of intimidation; 110 episodes of property damage or vandalism; and 144 episodes of assault or aggravated assault;

WHEREAS, these hate crimes have serious and lasting impacts on not just the direct victims of the crimes but also on members of the targeted communities, for whom hate crimes are a source of fear and anxiety; and

WHEREAS, reconstituting the task force will reinvigorate our statewide commitment to fight hate crimes and support victims and impacted communities;

NOW, THEREFORE, I, Charles D. Baker, Governor of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, by virtue of the authority vested in me by the Constitution, Part 2, c. 2, § I, Art. I, do hereby revoke Executive Order No. 401 and order as follows:

Section 1.  The Governor’s Task Force on Hate Crimes is hereby reaffirmed and established to advise the Governor on issues relating to and how best to combat hate crimes in the Commonwealth and support the victims of hate crimes.

Section 2.  The Task Force shall consist of the Secretary of Public Safety or his designee, who shall serve as Co-Chair of the Task Force, and up to 20 additional members appointed by and serving at the pleasure of the Governor.  The Governor shall designate one such member as Co-Chair of the Task Force.  Members of the Task Force may include representatives of victim assistance agencies; advocates for communities affected by hate crimes; the Attorney General’s Office; the various District Attorneys’ Offices; state, local and university police departments; educators and students; and others with expertise or experience in hate crimes issues.

Section 3.  The Task Force shall advise the Governor on issues relating to the prevalence, deterrence, and prevention of hate crimes in the Commonwealth and the support of victims of hate crimes. Additionally, the Task Force shall:

a)         Promote full and effective cooperation and coordination among law enforcement agencies and communities affected by hate crimes, to improve prevention, investigation, and prosecution of hate crimes;

b)         Develop best practices related to technical assistance for school districts that may seek to incorporate hate crime education into their curricula;

c)         Recommend policies, procedures and programs to ensure state and local government provide enhanced support for victims of hate crimes and their communities;

d)         Encourage and assist law enforcement agencies in reporting hate crimes reporting pursuant to the Hate Crime Reporting Act, General Laws Chapter 22C, §§ 32 et seq., including assistance in gathering, analyzing, and publishing hate crime reports;

e)         Encourage law enforcement agencies to enforce the Hate Crime Penalties Act, General Laws Chapter 265, § 39; and

f)         Recommend any appropriate legislation, regulations, policies or procedures to better combat hate crimes.  

Section 4.  The Task Force shall meet at least quarterly each year at the direction of the Co-Chairs, and shall submit to the Governor an annual report that addresses the mission of the Task Force, targeted objectives, options and recommended actions, and metrics to measure the effect of such recommendations on hate crimes in the Commonwealth.

Section 5.  The Co-Chairs, as needed, may establish subcommittees comprised of members of the Task Force and non-members drawn from various groups and organizations with expertise or experience in hate crimes issues. 

Section 6.  This Executive Order shall take continue in effect until amended, superseded or revoked by subsequent Executive Order.

Given at the Executive Chamber in Boston this 6 day of November in the year of our Lord two thousand seventeen and of the Independence of the United States of America two hundred forty-two.

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