A new law signed by Governor Cuomo now bans the sale or display of Confederate flags, swastikas, and other “symbols of hate” on state property.

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“This country faces a pervasive, growing attitude of intolerance and hate—what I have referred to in the body politic as an American cancer,” Cuomo said.

 

“By limiting the display and sale of the Confederate flag, Nazi swastika and other symbols of hatred from being displayed or sold on state property, including the state fairgrounds, this bill will help safeguard New Yorkers from the fear-instilling effects of these abhorrent symbols,” Cuomo continued.

WIVB reports there are exemptions to the new law, including images used in books, museum services, or materials used for educational or historical purposes.

Historically, Confederate plans have been associated with the Ku Klux Klan and is widely regarded as a racist symbol.

Critics of the law say it infringes on First Amendment rights as it relates to freedom of expression.

“The First Amendment generally protects the expression of even hateful speech, and a statute banning the sale of materials expressing those views on state-owned land is highly likely to be held unconstitutional,” said attorney Floyd Abrams, as reported by WIVB.

Cuomo acknowledged “technical changes” will be needed to ensure free speech protections aren’t violated, and agreed with the Legislature to address those concerns, reports WIVB.

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