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House of Representatives
Session of 2019 - 2020 Regular Session


Posted: May 7, 2019 11:00 AM
From: Representative Ed Gainey
To: All House members
Subject: Hate Groups Database
Statistics from both the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and the Pennsylvania State Police (PSP) show that hate crimes are on the rise in Pennsylvania. Furthermore, there is now a record 1,020 hate groups in the United States, a number that has increased by 30 percent since 2014. Even more alarming, there were over 160 extremist incidents in Pennsylvania in 2017-2018, including the tragic Tree of Life Synagogue mass shooting.

Until now, little has been done in our state to address hate groups. My legislation would give the
Attorney General the power to track hate group activity across the state in an information database system, allowing for better protection of our constituents, the marginalized, and other communities that are often the primary targets of hate. The information in the database would only be accessible by law enforcement agencies across the state, to better inform them of the hate group activity in their region.

The Attorney General would also establish a hate group unit that would investigate alleged perpetrators of hate crimes. In addition, the Attorney General would have the authority to investigate local hate groups and hate crime activity in cases when the local district attorney refuses.

Hate groups hold prejudices that attack our democratic values and fracture our society. While we proudly respect the right to free speech, we must also protect the life, liberty, and pursuit of happiness for all Pennsylvanians. Hateful ideologies have already taken the lives of too many people in our state. Please join me in helping to create a proactive solution to prevent this from ever happening again.

I thank you in advance for joining me as a sponsor of this most important legislative proposal.