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Senate of Pennsylvania
Session of 2021 - 2022 Regular Session


Posted: December 7, 2020 02:05 PM
From: Senator Vincent J. Hughes
To: All Senate members
Subject: Prohibiting false reports of "criminal activity" based on race or ethnicity
In the near future I plan to reintroduce Senate Bill 1198 (2019-2020), legislation that would deter racially and ethnically motivated 911 calls. Too often police are called to respond to the innocuous activities of black and brown citizens, such as waiting in a Starbucks, using the private pool in a gated community, napping in a dorm common area, or even golfing. This legislation would criminalize making a false report to law enforcement based solely on the alleged race or ethnicity of the alleged perpetrator.

This past summer we witnessed, yet again, more incidents of police violence against our communities of color. Fueled by both decades of frustration and unwavering hope, an extraordinary number of people across the Commonwealth marched in protest of the killing of unarmed black and brown people throughout the nation. Unfortunately, more often than not, police are unnecessarily brought into these situations by someone reporting innocent behaviors as “criminal activity.”  

Being black is not a crime.  

Being brown is not a crime.

Under my proposed legislation, when an individual reports “criminal activity” based solely on the race or ethnicity of another individual, the individual will have committed the crime of making false reports to law enforcement, which would be graded as a first-degree misdemeanor.

Join me in sponsoring this legislation.

Please contact my office with any questions.

Introduced as SB43