Ahead of Pennsylvania’s June 30 state budget deadline, Orthodox Jewish Congregations of America (“Orthodox Union”), the nation’s largest Orthodox Jewish umbrella organization, urges lawmakers to pass anti-hate crime legislation sponsored by Sen. Jay Costa, Rep. Dan Frankel and Rep. Napoleon Nelson. Four bills, all of which passed out of the House Judiciary Committee, would help curb antisemitism and other forms of hate.
Pennsylvania witnessed the massacre at the Tree of Life Synagogue in October 2018—the worst antisemitic incident in U.S. history—and in 2022, Pennsylvania saw a 65% increase in antisemitic incidents from the previous year. This bill package is a step in the right direction in addressing hate crimes of all types in the commonwealth.
The bills are HB 1027: “Stand Together Against Ethnic Intimidation”; HB 1024: “Give Police the Tools They Need”; HB 1025: “Educate to Rehabilitate”; and HB 1026: “Give Colleges and Schools the Tools They Need.”
We thank the sponsors who boldly introduced legislation, as well as the leadership of Gov. Josh Shapiro and Lt. Gov. Austin Davis, who have championed the vision of a safer Pennsylvania and supported the bill package.
Orthodox Union Executive Director for Public Policy Nathan Diament stated:
“In 2018 Pennsylvanians came together to condemn the worst antisemitic attack in American history. Now, the state legislature has a chance to take firm action by passing these Anti-Hate Crime Bills. With antisemitism at an all-time high and the White House releasing its recent Strategy to Counter Antisemitism, the environment is ripe for a bipartisan stand against hate. We look forward to Pennsylvania being one of the first states to pass such important legislation.”
Orthodox Union Executive Vice President Rabbi Moshe Hauer stated:
“People of all faiths and backgrounds should have the freedom to practice their religion freely and confidently, Jewish people included. The passing of this important legislation will ensure this key principle in our constitution is protected in Pennsylvania. We thank the legislature and state leadership for spearheading this bipartisan effort which not only promotes unity but is the true embodiment of religious liberty.”