Burns renews call for swift passage of ‘Blue Lives Matter’ bill
Legislation would add assaults on police to hate crimes list
EBENSBURG, July 18 – After another mass shooting of police officers – this time Sunday’s attack in Baton Rouge, La., that killed three and wounded three more – Rep. Frank Burns has renewed his call for swift passage of H.B. 2261, his bill to add assaults to law enforcement officers to Pennsylvania’s list of hate crimes.
Burns said the spate of police officer shootings in other states reinforce the need to send a strong signal that the commonwealth will deal harshly with anyone who carries out any type of assault on police, corrections, probation or parole officers.
"Like all Americans, I am again horrified and heartbroken at the news of yet another targeted attack on our police officers – this time in Baton Rouge, Louisiana – and I ask everyone to join me in holding the fallen officers, the wounded and their families in our thoughts and prayers,” said Burns, D-Cambria.
“But, thoughts and prayers alone are not enough. I'm urging everyone to contact their local lawmakers and ask for immediate consideration and passage of my Blue Lives Matter law, House Bill 2261, and start treating these attacks as the hate crimes they are."
Burns added that despite some pressure from outside his 72nd Legislative District to stop referring to his legislation as a Blue Lives Matter bill, he will not drop that nomenclature.
“The people who want me do to that should stop wasting their breath. This bill needs to move through the legislature and get to the governor’s desk for signature as quickly as possible,” Burns said. “As the daily news keeps proving, time is of the essence if we want to let people know that Pennsylvania won’t tolerate attacks on police officers.”
Under Burns’ bill, an attack against law enforcement officers would become an offense one degree higher than it currently is; for example, a second-degree misdemeanor would become a first-degree misdemeanor. The legislation would essentially put employment in law enforcement on par with race, color, religion and national origin as covered classes under Pennsylvania’s hate crimes law.