Lawmakers in Harrisburg are urging their colleagues in the state Senate to pass H.B. 1027 following the murder of a 14-year-old transgender teenager from Mercer County. 

Members of the PA House LGBTQ+ Equality Caucus released the following statement: 

We mourn the death of Pauly Likens and refuse to stand idly by while LGBTQ+ Pennsylvanians are targeted because of who they are. It’s unacceptable that current hate crime laws in our commonwealth are not applied to crimes motivated by a victim’s sexual orientation or gender identity.

“As incidents of violent hate crimes continue to rise across the nation, we urge our colleagues in the state Senate to pass H.B. 1027 and send it to the governor’s desk. It’s far past time to update Pennsylvania’s hate crime statute so that charges may reflect the especially heinous nature of hate-based violence.”

 

H.B. 1027 would amend Pennsylvania's Ethnic Intimidation Statue to ensure protections for victims targeted because of their race, color, religion, national origin, ethnicity, ancestry, sex, gender, gender identity, gender expression, sexual orientation, age, and disability including autism. 

The bill would also provide victims with a civil cause of action against offenders. 

The state House passed the legislation on a bipartisan vote in October 2023. However, it has yet to be considered by the state Senate's Judiciary Committee. 

Additionally, in response to Likens murder, Gov. Josh Shapiro said he would sign a bill that updates hate crime laws to include hate-based crimes against LGBTQ+ individuals.