State lawmakers look to invest $10 million in the safety of those practicing their religions

Local News

It’s been more than seven months since the deadly shooting at the Tree of Life Synagogue near Pittsburgh. 

Now, state lawmakers are making a move to protect Pennsylvanians in their houses of worship.

Senator Judy Schwank says, “Everyone deserves to feel safe in their place of worship, no matter what religion he or she practices.”

That feeling of safety was stripped away for many, though, when a shooter took the lives of 11 worshippers at the Tree of Life Synagogue in October.

Senator Andy Dinniman says, “It is no longer enough just to say ‘I’ll pray for you,’ as event after event takes place in the Commonwealth. We now need to act on our prayers.”

Which is why Dinniman has introduced Senate Bill 676, establishing the ‘Tolerance, Respect and Understanding,’ or ‘TRU,’ Program.

He says it’s “meant to protect a Hindu temple, an Islamic mosque, a Christian church, a Jewish synagogue… As well as all places of worship.”

It would establish a board housed at PEMA to approve grants for security improvements at facilities used by non-profits, including faith-based organizations. 

$10 million would initially be appropriated for the program.

Senator Schwank says, “A ten million dollar appropriation, which is a part of this legislation, is a small price to keep people safe.”

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