Following on the heels of a unanimous Senate vote last week, the Pennsylvania Jewish Coalition (PJC) celebrated today’s swift action by the Pennsylvania House of Representatives, concurring in the Senate amendment to House Bill 859, which provides $5 million in funding for non-profit entities to improve security in their communal spaces. This legislation will now move to Governor Wolf’s desk for his signature, after which it will take immediate effect.
The amendment to HB 859, once implemented, will allocate funds to protect institutions that are targets of violent hate crimes. The bill establishes a Pennsylvania Nonprofit Security Grant Program to fund security upgrades for communal facilities used by churches, synagogues and other non-profit entities deemed at risk.
“The PJC is grateful to both chambers of the General Assembly for their steadfast support of this important legislation,” said Pennsylvania Jewish Coalition Chairman Marc Zucker. “Adding to the gratitude we expressed last week to Senate leadership, we commend House Speaker Turzai, Leaders Cutler and Dermody, and Representatives Saylor, Bradford and Frankel for joining together to make this legislation a reality.”
“As the proliferation of hate crimes has increased in recent years, and white supremacist groups have grown in number, the need for security upgrades at our communal institutions was apparent,“ Zucker continued. “How fitting, less than twenty-four hours after we marked the one-year anniversary of the Tree of Life attack—a day which Governor Wolf proclaimed ‘Remember Repair Together Day,’ that the General Assembly has shown concrete support for the safety and security of all Pennsylvanians.”