PHRC supports Pennsylvania anti-hate legislation package


April 24, 2023 

PHRC supports Pennsylvania anti-hate crime legislation package 

Harrisburg, PA- Today, the Pennsylvania Human Relations Commission, PHRC, joined with other members of the Coalition Against Hate to support a package of anti-hate crimes legislation to update the commonwealth’s response to the growing hate violence in Pennsylvania. 

“As the Pennsylvania Human Relations Commission Chair, we strongly believe each person has an inherent right to live and be treated with dignity without fear of violence, discrimination, or hate,” said PHRC Chair M. Joel Bolstein. “In the past year, we have seen the number of reported hate crimes double. The PHRC stands to protect those against racism, xenophobia, homophobia, religious intolerance, gender inequality, discrimination and hate. PHRC supports anti-hate crime legislation and is proud to work with our partners to end hate in Pennsylvania.”  

The package of bills include: 

  • New Protections under Ethnic Intimidation Statute: This legislation would amend Pennsylvania’s Ethnic Intimidation Statute to ensure protections for victims targeted because of their race, religion, national origin, ancestry, sex, gender or gender identity, sexual orientation, intellectual disability, physical or sensory or behavioral or mental health. It also provides victims with a civil cause of action against repeat offenders and people who solicit or aid offenders. 
  • Reporting System for Educational Institutions: This legislation would require schools and postsecondary institutions to offer online and anonymous hate crime reporting options for students and employees. It will also encourage training for school employees in identifying and addressing hate incidents. 
  • Education for Hate Crime Offenders: This legislation would require an individual convicted of a hate crime to perform community service or complete educational classes relating to the motivating factor of the underlying crime. 
  • Hate Crime Training for Law Enforcement: This legislation would provide our law enforcement officials with the tools they need to properly investigate, identify and report hate crimes. 

“We live in volatile times. No one should be afraid to go to their place of worship, school, or even the grocery store,” said PHRC Executive Director Chad Dion Lassiter, MSW. “At the PHRC, we are proud to be a part of the Coalition Against Hate and we will continue working with civic and activist organizations to explain the protections available to people who may be fearful of coming forward after experiencing hate. We must adopt a zero-tolerance for hate in Pennsylvania and this legislation is a step in the right direction.”  

In 2022, the PHRC released its third annual “Building Pennsylvania’s Beloved Community: No Hate in Our State” report. The report discussed the prevalence of hate crimes in Pennsylvania. In 2020, there were 81 hate crimes investigated in Pennsylvania, that’s double the amount from 2019. In 2021, Pennsylvania had the highest incidents of white supremacist propaganda distribution of any state in the country.  

The PHRC, the state’s leading social justice enforcement agency, urges anyone who has experienced acts of discrimination or hate to file a complaint with the PHRC by calling 717-787-4410.  Information and resources are also available at

PHRC Media Contact Details

Amanda Brothman

Communications Director 771-856-5971
Pennsylvania Human Relations Commission Media