Frankel, Gainey and Costa call for action on hate-crime legislation

New legislation would strengthen existing laws, track hate crimes in Pa.

PITTSBURGH, May 9 – Standing at the scene of one of the most horrific hate crimes in Pennsylvania’s history, state Rep. Dan Frankel, D-Allegheny, joined his fellow legislators to call for action on legislation which would strengthen protections for Pennsylvanians of every race and creed.

“After the attack on the Jewish community in Pittsburgh, people of every faith and walk of life reached out and found ways to offer support and combat the fears that can creep in after a hate crime. This overwhelming response showed the world that our city and state stand for love and acceptance, not hatred,” Frankel said. “It’s time to make sure our laws do the same.”

Frankel was joined Thursday at the Tree of Life building in Squirrel Hill by state Rep. Ed Gainey, D-Allegheny, and state Sens. Jay Costa and Lindsey Williams.

The bills being introduced by the lawmakers would expand and update outdated laws to protect LGBTQ and disabled people; increase civil and criminal penalties for hate crimes; provide education for those who have been convicted of these crimes and improve Pennsylvania’s tracking of hate crimes and hate criminals.

The legislation would also create a private right of action for civil rights violations and create a reporting system for post-secondary education institutions.

“My constituents, including the many people affected by the attack on the congregations at Tree of Life, are begging us to do something to help keep them safe,” Frankel said. “I believe that we can come together to answer that call, beginning with this package of legislation.

“Together we can send a message loud and clear to those who would have our most vulnerable groups live in fear: Hate has no place here.”