New Bills Would Upgrade Criminal Penalties For Swatting At Houses of Worship; Create the First Ever Penalty for Doxxing

Amid rising cases of anti-Semitism in the state, New Jersey Assemblyman Gary Schaer (D-Passaic has introduced a package of bills which aims to raise awareness and educate the public, as well as putting stronger safety measures in place for all houses of worship in the state.

Included in the three bills is one which would recognize swatting – a false public alarm when the alarm involves a church, synagogue, temple, or other place of public worship – as a crime in New Jersey.

That bill calls for prison sentences of between five and 10 years, instead of the one to five years stipulated for most types of false public alarms.

Another would establish criminal penalties for doxxing, the practice of publicly revealing a person’s personal information to subject them to violence or intimidation.

“Over the last few months, we have seen a disturbingly rapid rise in antisemitism and hate crimes on our college campuses, K-12 schools, houses of worship and online,” Schaer, who also serves as President of the Passaic City Council, said in a statement. “We must remain vigilant in combatting antisemitism and protecting our residents, and it is my hope that by introducing these bills today, we will be doing just that,” he added.

The third bill would adopt the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance definition of antisemitism into state law, following similar steps by 30 other states across the country.

There were over 600 reports of bias crimes called in to New Jersey police stations through the first 11 months of 2023, including a triple-digit increase year-over-year since October 7th, according to New Jersey State Police data.

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  1. Fly Swatter Salesman, PETA Unhappy With Anti Swatting Bill
    When asked whether he supports a recently proposed bill that would upgrade criminal penalties in the state of NJ for swatting at places of worship, NJ fly swatter salesman, Itchy Smacket, told reporters on Thursday: “Are you kidding me?! 5-10 years prison time for swatting a fly? Come on, man! What’s the world coming to?! We need to stop acquiescing to these crazy animal rights lobbyists!”
    “Flies spread diseases,” Mr. Smacket asserted, “and mosquitos bite people. If we criminalize the act of swatting, the human race will not survive much longer, that’s for sure!”
    The fly swatter salesman also took issue with the bill exclusively criminalizing swatting in places of worship.
    “I do most of my business with places of worship,” he said, “because that’s where my fly swatters are needed most.”
    “People go to there to pray,” he said, “and when a supplicant is praying and trying to focus his attention on communicating with the Lord Almighty, the last thing he wants is a fly buzzing in his ears or a mosquito trying to bite him. It’s a total distraction! For the life of me, I can’t figure out why this bill is singling out fly swatting in places of worship!”
    However, PETA, the renowned animal rights organization, insists that the proposed bill did not go far enough.
    “We respect the religious rights of all flies and mosquitos who wish to frequent places of worship, without having to fear for their dear lives,” PETA said in a statement issued on Thursday. “But flies and mosquitos who do not frequent places of worship are also entitled to the right to life.”
    “We will not rest until all flies and mosquitos are treated equally, and until all of the members of the vulnerable insect community are protected from the violent and inhumane swatters,” PETA said. “Whether you’re a fly who attends religious services, or a fly who doesn’t attend religious services, but chooses instead to stay at home and enjoy his free time roaming the trash cans, you deserve to live a full and productive life.”

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