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Tuesday, March 2nd, 2021

House members introduce bill to help protect faith-based community centers

A bipartisan group of House members recently introduced legislation to increase federal penalties for making bomb threats and provide $20 million in additional funding to the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to help safeguard faith-based community centers across the country.

The members cosponsoring the bill include U.S. Reps. John Katko (R-NY), Michelle Lujan Grisham (D-NM), Brian Mast
(R-FL), and Jacky Rosen (D-NV).

The bill’s $20 million grant would go towards DHS’s existing State Homeland Security Grant Program and will be specifically earmarked to protect faith-bath community centers, which have seen a significant increase in threats over recent months. The legislation also doubles the current penalty for making bomb threats from five years to ten years.

“With recurrent threats to Jewish Community Centers around the country and right here in Central New York, it is vital that we act to stop and prevent these unacceptable criminal acts. This bill is critical to that effort,” Katko said. “By doubling the federal penalty for a person convicted of a bomb threat and authorizing grants to safeguard faith-based community centers, we can help to restore safety and security to our communities. I’m proud to work with a bipartisan group in Congress to advance this measure forward.”

A companion bill was recently introduced in the Senate by U.S. Sens. Martin Heinrich (D-NM) and Dean Heller (R-NV).