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Local Leaders Calling For Action On Hate Crime Legislation

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PITTSBURGH (KDKA) - Following the events in Charlottesville, Virginia some local lawmakers are calling for action on hate crime legislation.

Lawmakers and faith leaders gathered Monday at Freedom Corner in the Hill District.

"While we saw a comprehensive expression of hate, we want a comprehensive reaction to it and one of the way to do it is to address hate crimes in Pennsylvania in a comprehensive way," House Democratic Caucus Chairman Dan Frankel said.

Today, Frankel issued a call to action. He and others say current laws against hate crimes in our state need to be strengthened to restore protection for all people.

"You can't escape the feeling of not knowing when you leave your home if you're gonna be able to return home the way that you left," Rep. Jake Wheatley said.

"The tenor of our nation is now a familiar tone of violence, hatred intolerance and racism in all forms," Rev Denise Welsh said.

House Bill 505 and Senate Bill 96 would expand the Pennsylvania Intimidation Act. Right now, the two are sitting and waiting to be pushed through.

"Bring 'em up to the floor. They should be simple votes, they should be quick discussions and we should be moving Pennsylvania forward in a way that creates opportunity and safety for everyone," Rep. Dan Miller said.

The message is that the state is tolerant, accepting and rejects act of hate and that the laws on the books are enforced.

"We have a new birth of a commitment to ending bigotry, ending racism, all of the 'ism's' and for this country to stand together as we never have before," Tim Stevens, of the Black Political Empowerment Project, said.

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