Pennsylvania Legislators Propose $10M Grant Program for Security at Houses of Worship

Pennsylvania Legislators Propose $10M Grant Program for Security at Houses of Worship

Legislators in the Pennsylvania Senate proposed June 3 a $10 million grant program to help faith-based institutions improve their security.

On June 3, legislators in the Pennsylvania Senate proposed a $10 million grant program to help houses of worship and other faith-based institutions improve safety and security for their facilities.

The Tolerance, Respect and Understanding (TRU) Bill would establish a Pennsylvania Nonprofit Security Grant Program to fund increased security measures for facilities used by faith-based institutions and work to create a more supportive and tolerant environment.

The TRU Bill is co-sponsored by multiple state Senators, including Sens. Andy Dinniman, Judy Schwank and Jay Costa, the Senate Minority Leader. Legislators were inspired by conversations between officials and leaders in the community after the attack on the Pittsburgh Tree of Life Synagogue in October.

The legislation is “overdue,” Schwank said.

"This bill will provide nonprofits with the ability to protect those who come through their doors," she said. "Metal detectors, surveillance equipment, electronic lock sets and trauma kits are a few examples of what could be provided to these organizations."

Parts of the TRU bill were modeled after Pennsylvania’s School Safety and Community Violence Prevention and Reduction Grant Program and the federal Hate Crime Prevent Act.

According to Dinniman, the legislation is part of a series of bills taking action against hate crimes.

"It is no longer enough just to say 'I'll pray for you' as event after event takes place in the commonwealth," Dinniman said. "We now need to act on our prayers."

Dinniman said the initial $10 million investment in the bill would be viable in a projected state budget surplus of more than $800 million.

About the Author

Jessica Davis is the Associate Content Editor for 1105 Media.

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