From the Jewish Social Policy Action Network (J-SPAN at http://www.jspan.org/):
In late 2009, the Pennsylvania House Judiciary Committee passed House Bill 745 (http://www.legis.state.pa.us/cfdocs/billinfo/billinfo.cfm?syear=2009&sind=0&body=H&type=B&BN=0745) with bipartisan support. In the next few weeks, a floor vote is expected on the bill.
HB 745 would amend the Title 18 Ethnic Intimidations Act to define crimes against individuals based on “actual or perceived ancestry, mental or physical disability, sexual orientation, gender or gender identity” as ethnic intimidation, or hate crimes. Passing H.B. 745 would add the above listed groups as protected classes of Pennsylvanians, classes that are not now protected on the state level from hate crimes and violence. The legislation could impact tens of thousands of Pennsylvanians.
From 2002 to 2008 Pennsylvania protected all of its citizens from hate crimes, including those based on perceived gender identity. However, even though the State Legislature supported hate crimes legislation, it was struck down by the State Supreme Court in 2008 because of a technicality.
As we move closer to a vote on this important legislation to provide protection for all Pennsylvanians, please let your representative know your thoughts on the bill. To find contact information for your representative, go to http://www.legis.state.pa.us and enter your zip code in the upper right hand corner.