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House of Representatives
Session of 2019 - 2020 Regular Session


Posted: May 8, 2019 02:33 PM
From: Representative Dan Frankel
To: All House members
Subject: Hate Crimes Legislation Package
Chabad of Poway in California. The Tree of Life Congregation in Pittsburgh. The Sikh Temple of Wisconsin. Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Charleston, S.C. First Baptist Church in Sutherland Springs, Tex. The Pulse bar in Orlando. The Inland Regional Center in San Bernardino. The Planned Parenthood clinic in Colorado Springs and the list goes on, and on and on.

Hate Crimes have become part of American life; the new normal in our country. Incidents like the Tree of Life shooting in Pittsburgh and the desecration of a Jewish cemetery in Philadelphia have brought hate crime incidents close to home. According to statistics from the U.S. Department of Justice, in 2017, 8,437 hate crime offenses were reported across the nation. The 2017 hate crime offenses represents a 17% increase in reported hate crimes. A May 2018 Report to the Nation from the Center for Study of Hate & Extremism at the California State University, San Bernardino found that hate crimes reported to police in America’s ten largest cities rose for the fourth consecutive year. That same report found that Philadelphia ranked in the top ten of largest cities that saw significant increases in the number of reported hate crimes between 2010 – 2017.

The Tree of Life tragedy shone a light on the shortcomings in Pennsylvania law relating to hate crimes and ethnic intimidation. Unfortunately, the Tree of Life incident is not the first and may not be the last crime committed in the Commonwealth fueled by hate. After reviewing current laws and talking to various state and local agencies, many deficiencies in our state statutes have been identified.

For this reason, in the near future, I intend on introducing a package of legislation intended to address hate crimes and ethic intimidation in Pennsylvania.

Please join me by co-sponsoring these important pieces of legislation. Together we can send a message loud and clear to those who would have our most vulnerable groups live in fear: Hate has no place here.

Document #1

Introduced as HB2013

Description: Expanding the Ethnic intimidation Statute
The October 27 attack on the three congregations at Pittsburgh’s Tree of Life building was the worst anti-Semitic attack ever to take place on American soil, but it was far from an isolated incident. Hate crimes are on the rise, and attacks on Jews, specifically, are leading the spike.

This bill would step up civil and criminal penalties on those who target individuals or groups because of their race, color, religion, national origen, actual or perceived ancestry, mental or physical disability, sexual orientation, gender or gender identity. It would also provide tools to fight Civil Rights Violations such as preliminary and permanent injunctive relief against continued violators and people who solicit or provide aid to such violators.

Please join me in co-sponsoring this legislation.

Document #2

Introduced as HB2012

Description: Law Enforcement Training on Investigating, Identifying and Reporting Crimes of Ethnic Intimidation-

Hate Crimes have become part of American life; the new normal in our country. Law enforcement agencies disclosed 7,175 hate crimes in America during 2017, up from 6,121 in 2016. This is the third consecutive year that reported hate crimes have increased, and it’s the single biggest spike since the surge of incidents targeting Muslims in 2001 after the attacks on Sept. 11. But the reporting of these incidents remains uneven and inconsistent, both by victims and law enforcement.

Unfortunately, in Pennsylvania, according to latest FBI statistics of the 1,463 law enforcement agencies across the state that submitted numbers on crimes in 2017, only 20 submitted hate crime incident reports. As a result, Pennsylvania, a state of 12.7 million, continues to have a chronically low annual reporting rate of hate crimes to the FBI. Sadly, it is not because hate crimes do not happen here. They do. It is because of an outdated and overly restrictive statute and the lack of understanding of what constitutes a hate crime.

With the number of hate crimes increasing by 17% across the nation according to the U.S. Department of Justice, it is time we provide our law enforcement officials with the tools they need to properly investigate, identify and report crimes of ethnic intimidation.

Please join me in co-sponsoring this legislation.

Document #3

Introduced as HB2010

Description: Reporting System for Postsecondary Institutions
College can be a remarkably formative experience for young people. While attending college, students are often shaping their sense of self and crystallizing their worldview. They’re navigating their identity across multiple domains of race, gender, religion, spirituality, and heritage. In many cases, they’re also being exposed to new cultures and identities that they may not have previously been exposed to.

Unfortunatellu, according to the Southern Poverty Law Center, hate groups are specifically “targeting college campuses” where “you're dealing with people who may be just starting to form their ideas about the world.”

Tracking the number of such acts can be difficult because many hate crimes go unreported and not all hate-bias rises to the level of a crime. This, coupled with their increased prevalence on college campuses, has prompted my legislation.

This legislation would require postsecondary institutions to offer online and anonymous reporting options for students and employees. Anonymous online reporting alerts campus police of a possible hate crime while at the same time serving as an early point of contact, when a victim can learn about the steps required to file a formal report.

Allowing victims the opportunity to easily and conveniently file a report from will help increase the likelihood that these crimes will be reported, thus protecting others from harm.

As lawmakers, it’s on us to ensure that Pennsylvania’s campuses are safe, and that the system for reporting these crimes is conducive to justice and healing.  

Please join me in co- sponsoring this important legislation.                                                                                                                                   

Document #4

Introduced as HB2011

Description: Requirement for Hate Crimes Offenders to Complete Diversity Classes and Allowing Community Impact Statements-

This legislation will require an individual convicted of ethnic intimidation to perform community service or complete educational classes relating to the motivating factor of the individual’s hatred as part of the individual’s sentence and allow a representative of an affected community to submit a community impact statement prior to the imposition of a sentence.
The legislation would require, as a condition of probation or parole, an individual who is convicted of ethnic intimidation to perform community service or complete educational classes relating to the motivating factor of the underlying crime.  For example, an individual convicted of ethnic intimidation against an individual who is Jewish would be required to take educational classes relating to Judaism. 
Additionally, the legislation would allow a representative of a community group to submit a community impact statement prior to sentencing.  The community impact statement would be similar to victim impact statements that are submitted by a victim of a crime prior to the sentencing of a perpetrator.

Please join in co-sponsoring this legislation.