Senate Votes to Provide Security Grants to Faith-Based Institutions, Nonprofits

       Harrisburg – Sen. Bob Mensch (R-24) today said Senate approved legislation to provide security grants to faith-based institutions and nonprofit organizations.

House Bill 859 was amended by the Senate to make grants available to faith-based institutions and any nonprofit that services individuals, groups, or institutions included within the FBI’s bias motivation category for hate crime incidents.

“The General Assembly has enacted several initiatives to increase security in schools, to help pay for equipment, training, threat assessments and more,” said Mensch. “Unfortunately, it’s clear that places of worship are not free from threats. This legislation will provide the same resources to faith-based institutions and nonprofits that might be targeted.”

The Nonprofit Security Grant Program would be funded through the Pennsylvania Commission on Crime and Delinquency by $5 million of unexpended and unencumbered state funds. Grant awards will range from $5,000 to $150,000, with larger amounts contingent upon the organization committing non-state matching funds. The program would begin to accept applications no later than March 1, 2020.

Similar to the recently enacted Safe Schools Grant Program, faith-based institutions and nonprofits may utilize the grant dollars for a variety of security planning, equipment, and technology needs, including metal detectors, surveillance cameras, emergency communications equipment, electronic locksets, threat assessments, and building upgrades.

The amended House Bill 859 returns to the House of Representatives for consideration. 

 

CONTACT: Mark Fetzko, mfetzko@pasen.gov, 717-787-3110