Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker on Monday signed a bill that gives churches, synagogues and other places of worship more power to fight a recent surge in hates crimes and other violence aimed at religious groups being seen nationwide.
The bill adds $1.5 million in funding to the Commonwealth Nonprofit Security Grant Program.
The additional funding, which will be used to beef up security at various places of worship, comes amid a wave of anti-Semitism across the country and violence aimed at other places of worship.
In late December, police in Monsey, New York, arrested a man who they said stabbed six people while they were celebrating Hanukkah at a rabbi’s house. Days later, a man shot and killed two people at a church near Fort Worth, Texas, before an armed parishioner shot and killed him.
“What’s far more concerning is what this says about America, and what this says about where our country is today,” said Jeremy Burton, the executive director of the Jewish Community Relations Council.
Burton said that while additional funding is an important step forward, attitudes also need to change.