Pennsylvania Legislature Approves Faith-Based Security, Safety Improvements Bill
The Pennsylvania legislature passed a bill introduced by state Senator Andy Dinniman to provide grants for vital security and safety improvements to faith-based nonprofit organizations and those with diverse memberships.
“Pennsylvania has historically been a place of religious tolerance, liberty, and freedom of worship. Today, we reaffirmed those values – that regardless of faith or background, everyone deserves to feel safe in their place of worship,” Dinniman said.
According to a press release, the measure establishes a $5 million Nonprofit Security Grant Fund to provide funding for safety and security improvements to facilities used by faith-based nonprofits. The grant program, administered by the Pennsylvania Commission on Crime and Delinquency (PCCD), would provide funding for security enhancements, including:
- Planning, threat awareness and response training.
- Equipment and technology, such as metal detectors, lighting, surveillance, communications systems, locksets, deadbolts, trauma kits, and antitheft devices.
- Vulnerability and threat assessments.
- Specialty-trained canines.
- Other upgrades to existing structures that enhance safety and security.
Grant awards will range from a minimum of $5,000 to a maximum of $150,000. PCCD will select awardees in consultation with the Governor’s Office of Homeland Security and the Pennsylvania State Police. Once signed in to law, the Nonprofit Security Grant Fund will begin accepting applications in March.
“Just over a year ago, the deadliest anti-Semitic attack in our nation’s history took place right here in Pennsylvania,” Dinniman said. “We must never forget, but we also must act. And that is why we worked together across party lines to pass this bill. Because by standing up to protect the rights of freedom of religious expression, we’re protecting the right to worship of all."