June 25, 2021

Senator Hassan Introduces Bipartisan Bill to Improve Security for Houses of Worship

Bipartisan Legislation Backed by New Hampshire Faith Leaders

WASHINGTON – U.S. Senators Maggie Hassan, Chair of the Emerging Threats Subcommittee, and Rob Portman (R-OH) introduced the bipartisan Pray Safe Act to establish a federal clearinghouse through which faith-based organizations and houses of worship could access information on safety and security best practices, available federal grant programs, and training opportunities.

  

“Americans should be able to feel a sense of safety and security in their places of worship, yet we have seen heartbreaking attacks targeting communities based on their faiths,” said Senator Hassan. “This bipartisan bill will help provide best practices to places of worship so that Americans of all faith backgrounds can gather in peace. I will continue working to protect faith-based organizations in New Hampshire and the rest of the country.”

 

The bipartisan bill is supported by the NH Council of Churches, the Jewish Clergy Association of New Hampshire, and the IQRA Islamic Society of Greater Concord.

  

The Pray Safe Act directs the Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security, in consultation with Department of Justice, the Executive Director of the White House Office of Faith-Based and Neighborhood Partnerships, and any other agencies that the Secretary determines appropriate, to establish a Federal Clearinghouse on Safety and Security Best Practices for Faith-Based Organizations and Houses of Worship. The Federal Clearinghouse will inform them of best practices and recommendations for safety and security. In addition, it will provide information on available federal resources and grant programs relevant to the safety and security of faith-based organizations and houses of worship. 

 

The bipartisan bill builds on Senator Hassan’s efforts to strengthen security at houses of worship and nonprofits. Former President Trump signed into law bipartisan legislation cosponsored by Senator Hassan to codify in law that grant funding for houses of worship and nonprofit organizations must be available for small states like New Hampshire, not just major metropolitan areas, and Senator Hassan successfully worked to quadruple funding for the program.

 

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