By Tony Romeo
HARRISBURG, Pa. (CBS) — With the end of the legislative session drawing near, any bills to make assault based on a person’s sexual orientation a hate crime is not likely to see action in the Pennsylvania legislature this year — despite last week’s brutal attack on a gay couple in center city Philadelphia.
Several years ago, citing a procedural error, the Pennsylvania Supreme Court overturned a law that made assault due to sexual orientation a hate crime.
And since then, says Erik Arneson, spokesman for the state senate majority leader, he does not recall a significant push for a new bill.
Instead, Arneson says, the focus this session has been on legislation to outlaw workplace and other discrimination.
While hate crimes legislation has been introduced, he notes, time has all but run out for action this year.
“At this point, the sun is setting on the legislative session. Both chambers have eight days remaining. Any bill that has not yet left its original committee requires at least an absolute minimum of six days to get done,” Arneson says.
Any bills not enacted will have to be reintroduced in the new two-year session that begins in January.