ALBANY, N.Y. — Following a rash of cases involving nooses, the state Legislature Monday moved toward making it a felony to display the symbol of lynchings in the Old South in a threatening manner.
"We won't tolerate this," said Sen. Dean G. Skelos, a Long Island Republican who sponsored the measure that passed Monday in the Senate. "There is no place for racism and intimidation in America."
The bill also covers etching, drawing or painting the symbol. He said that, as in the case of Nazi symbols and burning crosses, an intent to threaten or harass would be part of an anti-noose law.
The Democrat-led Assembly may convene Tuesday and could consider the measure then.
Skelos said the recent "rash of incidents clearly demonstrates the need for tough new penalties."
Monday's Senate vote came as New York City police said a black high school teacher in Brooklyn had been targeted with a letter containing racial slurs and a string tied into a noose.
The teacher told police she received the letter and the noose through the mail. Police say they have no suspects.
Nooses were also found earlier this month on a black professor's door at Teachers College at Columbia University, outside a post office near ground zero in lower Manhattan and in locations on Long Island. There have been no arrests.
There have been a number of other nooses found in high-profile incidents around the country, including in a black Coast Guard cadet's bag and on a Maryland college campus.
It was also in the so-called Jena Six case in Louisiana, where six black teenagers are accused of beating a white student. The incident happened after nooses were hung from a tree on a high school campus there.