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House of Representatives
Session of 2021 - 2022 Regular Session


Posted: December 7, 2020 12:03 PM
From: Representative Dan Frankel
To: All House members
Subject: *Corrected Hate Crimes Legislation Package* Make sure to Re-Co-sponsor
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, TX. 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 2019, there were 7,314 hate crime incidents involving 8,559 offenses reported across the nation. The Federal Bureau of Investigation’s (FBI) annual Hate Crime Statistics Act (HCSA) report reveals that 2019 was the deadliest year on record with 51 hate crime murders – a 113-percent increase over the previous record of 24 set in 2018. The overall data show polarization and fragmentation amidst sustained multi-year increases in hate crime and bigoted digital speech.

Race-based or anti-African American hate crimes were again the top bias categories in most cities, followed closely by anti-Gay and anti-Jewish hate crimes, according to a Report from the Center for Study of Hate & Extremism. 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 – 2018.

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.

Our laws are a reflection of our values as Pennsylvanians, and we have a lot of work to do. For these and many other reasons, along with some of my colleagues, I will be re-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 HB2755

Description: Bill #1
Expanding the Ethnic intimidation Statute (Former HB 2013)

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 origin, 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

Description: Bill #2
Reporting System for schools and Postsecondary Institutions (Former HB 2010)

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

Because schools are hubs of our communities, they have become battlegrounds for extremist organizing. Unfortunately, according to the Southern Poverty Law Center, hate groups are specifically “targeting school and college campuses” where “you are 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 schools and college campuses, has prompted my legislation.

This legislation will require schools to expand the Safe2say Something program and postsecondary institutions to expand the anonymous, online reporting tool for sexual assault to also include the reporting of hate crimes.

Allowing victims the opportunity to safely and conveniently file a report 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 #3

Description: Bill #3
Requirement for Hate Crimes Offenders to Complete Diversity Classes and Allowing Community Impact Statements  (Former HB 2011)

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.