July 14, 2016
A Pennsylvania lawmaker is proposing a piece of legislation that would make assaulting a police officer in the state a hate crime.
State Rep. Frank Burns, D-Cambria, introduced Tuesday a “Blue Lives Matter” bill, which comes after five officers were killed by a gunman in Dallas.
"We have to protect the police officer, because nobody will want to be a police officer if they constantly have a target on their back," Burns said in a recent interview.
The bill would amend the state's hate crime laws regarding "ethnic intimidation" to read "ethnic and employment intimidation," more specifically, adding in "employment as a law enforcement officer."
Under the amended law, offenses committed against law enforcement officials with malicious intent toward their profession would be bumped up a degree. So, a second-degree misdemeanor would become a first-degree misdemeanor.
“I’ve already heard from a few outside of my district who aren’t happy with this legislation, but I believe it’s necessary to send a clear, unwavering signal of support for those who risk their lives to protect us,” Burns said in a statement.
PhillyMag noted that if passed, the law would make Pennsylvania the second state to enact such legislation, as Louisiana passed a similar law in May.