Pittsburgh synagogue attack inspires new hate crimes bills

Regional News

HARRISBURG, Pa. (AP) — Democratic lawmakers in Pennsylvania are introducing a package of hate-crimes bills that are inspired by a mass shooting at a Pittsburgh synagogue that killed 11 worshippers.

Senate Minority Leader Jay Costa said Thursday the October attack at the Tree of Life synagogue showed that Pennsylvania law has shortcomings on hate crimes and ethnic intimidation.

Authorities say the man accused of the Tree of Life shootings, Robert Bowers, had expressed hatred of Jews.

Among other things, the bills would require municipal police officers to be trained to investigate crimes of ethnic intimidation, commission a hate group database and provide the attorney general’s office with jurisdiction to investigate crimes involving ethnic intimidation.

Last month, the city of Pittsburgh approved firearms restrictions that gun rights advocates are challenging in court.

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