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House of Representatives
Session of 2023 - 2024 Regular Session


Posted: December 13, 2022 02:23 PM
From: Representative Dan Frankel and Rep. Napoleon J. Nelson
To: All House members
Subject: Anti-Hate Crimes Package
Club Q in Colorado Springs. Tops grocery store in Buffalo. The spa shootings in Atlanta. The Tree of Life synagogues in my Pittsburgh district. The Sikh Temple of Wisconsin. Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Charleston, S.C. The Pulse bar in Orlando. The list goes on and on and on, and these are just the attacks that make global news headlines. Individuals and groups in America are targeted every day for who they are, how they look, or who they love.

These hate-based attacks are becoming more frequent and more violent, but Pennsylvania still does not have adequate laws to address them.

The Commonwealth saw a sharp increase in hate crimes in 2021, with 255 reported last year, according to data maintained by the Pennsylvania State Police. That’s more than any other year since cases began being tracked in 1997 and almost as many as the previous three years combined. It’s also thought by law enforcement to be an undercount.
The Department of Homeland Security recognized in a 2020 threat assessment that white supremacist extremists are, and will remain, “the most persistent and lethal threat to the Homeland.”

Soon, I plan to introduce a package of legislation intended to modernize our laws to address hate crimes and ethnic intimidation.

These bills would align Pennsylvania’s protected classes with those included at the federal level: individuals or groups targeted because of their race, color, religion, national origin, ancestry, sex, gender, gender identity, gender expression, sexual orientation, or disability.

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 HB1027

Description: Expanding the Ethnic intimidation Statute

This bill would strengthen Pennsylvania’s “ethnic intimidation” criminal penalty language and step up civil penalties on those who target individuals or groups because of their race, color, religion, national origin, ancestry, sex, gender, gender identity, gender expression, sexual orientation, or disability of an individual or group of individuals.

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 HB1024

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

The FBI data available to us shows that hate crimes are on the rise, but experts agree that those numbers represent a dramatic undercount. Most hate crimes go unreported or are never properly categorized.
In order to accurately track and combat hate crimes, this bill would provide Pennsylvania’s law enforcement with the training they need to properly investigate, identify and report crimes of ethnic intimidation.

Please join me in co-sponsoring this legislation.

Document #3

Introduced as HB1025

Description: Reporting Systems in Educational Settings

Individuals do not suddenly become vulnerable to hate crimes or vulnerable to violent ideologies when they turn 18.

A 2019 study known as the Youth Bias Victimization Questionnaire found that 95 percent of youths in a sample drawn from in Boston, Philadelphia, and parts of Tennessee reported witnessing some kind of bias victimization in their lifetime.

The Southern Poverty Law Center has warned that hate groups are specifically “targeting college campuses” as recruiting grounds, where “you're dealing with people who may be just starting to form their ideas about the world.”

My legislation is designed to train educators and school administrators to identify and address hate incidents before they become deadly. It would also expand existing anonymous reporting programs in K-12 schools, along with institutions of higher education, to allow young people to easily speak up when they are the victims of or witnesses to incidences of hate-based intimidation.

Easing reporting procedures will improve data collection, which will help law enforcement and policymakers to do more to prevent these crimes and keep Pennsylvanians safer.

As lawmakers, it’s on us to ensure that Pennsylvania’s educational settings are safe. Please join me in co-sponsoring this important legislation.     

Document #4

Introduced as HB1026

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

Individuals who commit hate crimes are often under the spell of conspiracy theories and lies. If we are to have any hope for reversing the disturbing trends that we see in FBI hate crime statistics, we must work to show perpetrators the humanity their crimes seek to deny.

This bill 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 targeted 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 me in co-sponsoring this legislation.