HARRISBURG (May 31, 2019) – State Senator Andy Dinniman and others will announce new legislation to address security needs and confront violence against organizations with diverse members at a special press conference on Monday, June 3, at 11 a.m. in the Capitol Media Center.
The impetus for the Tolerance, Respect, and Understanding (TRU) Program emerged from conversations with faith and community leaders from across the Commonwealth following the Tree of Life Synagogue shooting and the special Joint Legislation Session held earlier this spring.
The purpose of the legislation, which was recently introduced as Senate Bill 676, is twofold:
- To establish a Pennsylvania Nonprofit Security Grant Program to provide security improvements for facilities used by faith-based organizations.
- To provide grants for community-based conversations and events that create an atmosphere supportive of tolerance, respect, and understanding.
Parts of the bill were modeled after Pennsylvania’s new School Safety and Community Violence Prevention and Reduction Grant Program (Act 44 of 2019) and its language is reflective of that in federal Hate Crime Prevention Act. You can view the co-sponsorship memo here and the bill here.
“With the Great Law of 1682, Pennsylvania became one of the first places in the world to make an official statement of freedom of worship and religious liberty. Today, with the rise of violence and hate it is up to us to look to the Great Law and our Quaker heritage in embracing the values of tolerance, respect, and understanding,” Dinniman said. “Through passage of the TRU Program, we can help better ensure safety for all, while sending the message that regardless of your creed, color, ethnicity, or background, we all deserve to be treated with respect.”
Dinniman said the bill has already been co-sponsored by multiple senators from both sides of the aisle and that he welcomes bipartisan support from his legislative colleagues
“At the end of the day, while we may not always agree, there is no doubt that we’ll all get a lot further through peaceful dialogue and civil discourse than by planting the seeds of violence in bullying and hate,” he said.