Nov 19, 2016
After the recent ambush of two police officers responding to a domestic disturbance call in western Pennsylvania, state Rep. Frank Burns said it reinforces the urgent need for the passage of his Blue Lives Matter bill.
Burns said the incident where a suspect opened fire on two police officers as they arrived at a house responding to a domestic disturbance, leaving one officer dead and the other injured, is the latest in a growing line of incidents where law enforcement is being targeted for harm.
“We can't just sit here doing nothing, hoping that these tragedies won't happen,” Burns said. “The attacks on law enforcement are hitting close to home. There is a pressing need for this legislation to protect law enforcement and it needs to happen now.”
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.
The bill would make employment as a law enforcement officer a covered class under Pennsylvania’s hate crimes law. It would stiffen penalties for assaulting a police, corrections, probation or parole officer – making the offense one degree higher than current law.
“I've made numerous attempts to get a vote on the bill but so far that hasn’t happened,” Burns said. “The Republican-controlled House needs to put politics aside and vote on this bill. Protecting law enforcement shouldn’t be a partisan issue.”
The bill is stuck in Judiciary, where it needs the Chair,
Hon. Ron Marsico
315J Main Capitol Building
PO Box 202105
Harrisburg, PA 17120-2105
Fax: (717) 705-2010
to bring it up for a vote.