Bill Safeguards Faith-Based Community Centers

U.S. Sen. Martin Heinrich


WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Representatives Martin Heinrich (D-NM), Michelle Lujan Grisham (D-NM), Brian Mast (R-FL), Jacky Rosen (D-NV) and John Katko (R-NY) introduced bipartisan legislation today to increase penalties for making bomb threats, and provide $20 million in additional funding to the Department of Homeland Security to safeguard faith-based community centers.

The bill, which already has the support of 28 other members, would provide $20 million in additional funding to the Department of Homeland Security under the existing State Homeland Security Grant Program specifically dedicated to safeguarding faith-based community centers. Additionally, it would double the federal penalty against making bomb threats from five years to 10 years.

U.S. Rep. Michelle Lujan Grisham

“These cowardly threats against Jewish community centers, no matter the identity of the perpetrator, have no place in our society,” Rep. Michelle Lujan Grisham (NM-01) said. “It angers me that so many people are emboldened by the current political climate to target people of any faith with hate speech and threats of violence based on their own prejudices and ignorance. America should always be inclusive and welcoming of all people, and I will do everything possible to fight against hateful rhetoric and actions that don’t represent our values.”

Sen. Martin Heinrich (D-NM) and Sen. Dean Heller (R-NV) introduced similar legislation last month in the U.S. Senate.
“Jewish Community Centers and other faith-based community centers provide a safe and welcoming environment where families and children learn, play sports, share holidays, and gather in peace. No American should be forced to feel unsafe at these centers,” Heinrich said.   

“Anti-Semitism, or any faith-based targeting, is unacceptable. Federal, state, and local officials must act swiftly to help protect these sites and to ensure that these cowardly acts are not tolerated and are punished to the fullest extent possible.”​