‘Blue Lives Matter’ legislation coming from Burns within days
Bill would make ‘employment intimidation’ against police officers a crime
EBENSBURG, July 8 – The sniper-induced deaths of five Dallas police officers underscore why state Rep. Frank Burns, D-Cambria, will soon unveil “Blue Lives Matter” legislation designed to put attacks on police and corrections officers on par with ethnic hate crimes.
Burns, whose legislation was already in the production pipeline, plans to introduce his bill and seek House co-sponsors as early as Monday.
“I respect the difficult job police and corrections officers perform keeping us safe from criminals and I’m appalled that all too often, officers themselves are targeted for assault, ambush or – as we found out in Dallas – death,” Burns said. “If ever there was a group in need of being a protected class, it’s those who put their lives on the line every day to keep the rest of us safe from the criminal element.”
Burns said cowardly acts like those perpetrated in Dallas against unsuspecting police officers warrant stiff punishment and a clear message needs to be sent that such targeting will not be legally tolerated.
Burns’ bill seeks to give law enforcement officers of the commonwealth or any of its political subdivisions, as well as corrections officers at state or county institutions, protected status under the state’s ethnic intimidation law.
As such, the legislation would give them the same treatment as race, color, religion or national origin when it comes to crimes motivated by hatred.
“I have no qualms about expanding this legal definition, which is why I recently commissioned the drafting of this legislation,” Burns said. “These unfortunate, gutless and heart-wrenching shootings in Dallas only serves as another reason why my proposed legislation should become law.”