Lawmakers seek safety grants for houses of worship

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HARRISBURG, Pa. (WHTM) – Seven months after the deadly shooting at the Tree of Life Synagogue in Pittsburgh, state lawmakers are introducing a bill to protect Pennsylvanians in houses of worship.

Senate Bill 676 would establish the Tolerance, Respect, and Understanding, or TRU Program.

The program would establish a board, housed at PEMA, to approve grants for security improvements to facilities used by nonprofits, including faith-based organizations.

“It’s meant to protect a Hindu temple, an Islamic mosque, a Christian church, a Jewish synagogue as well as all places of worship,” said Sen. Andy Dinniman (D-Chester), the bill’s main sponsor. “It is no longer enough just to say ‘I’ll pray for you’ as event after event takes place in the commonwealth. We now need to act on our prayers.”

The bipartisan bill is modeled after a recent school security bill.

$10 million would initially be appropriated for the program.

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