Burns to push for committee action on Blue Lives Matter bill starting Monday
Escalating boldness of attacks on police officers creates urgency
EBENSBURG, Sept. 14 – In the face of intensified attacks on police officers nationwide, state Rep. Frank Burns plans to push for a quick vote on his Blue Lives Matter bill when the legislature reconvenes Monday.
Burns said Tuesday’s incident in Phoenix, where a driver purposely barreled his vehicle into three police officers, seriously injuring two of them, is the latest in a growing line of incidents where law enforcement is being targeted for harm.
“More than ever, we need to send a clear message that this type of behavior will be dealt with harshly in Pennsylvania,” Burns said. “I intend to lobby my fellow representatives and write a letter to the House Judiciary Committee chairman, with the goal of swiftly moving my bill through the process.”
Burns’ H.B. 2261, introduced in July, would make such attacks a hate crime in Pennsylvania, with a commensurate stiffer penalty. The legislation has attracted 22 co-sponsors and is backed by the 40,000-member Pennsylvania Fraternal Order of Police.
As crafted by Burns, the bill would make employment as a law enforcement officer a covered class under Pennsylvania’s hate crimes law, on par with race, color, religion and national origin. It would stiffen by one degree the penalty for assaulting a police, corrections, probation or parole officer.
“With the bipartisan support for this bill, it needs to move through the process and not languish in committee,” Burns said. “The sooner we do this, the better. That’s the message I’m taking to my peers in both parties.”