ALBANY, N.Y. (AP) — New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo says the increasing number of threats against journalists shows the need for stronger criminal penalties for assaulting a member of the press.

The Democrat is proposing to make assaulting a journalist a felony.

If approved by lawmakers, journalists would join a long list of other occupations covered by similar assault laws, including police, fire fighters, judges, train conductors, bus drivers, prosecutors, sanitation workers and health care workers.

Cuomo announced the proposal Tuesday during his annual state of the state address.

Cuomo cited several recent threats and attacks targeting working journalists, including pipe bombs mailed to CNN last year. He said reporters have a vital role to play in American life and should feel safe to do their work.

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