House Speaker grants Burns’ request to form Blue Lives Matter Caucus
HARRISBURG, Jan. 30 – At the request of state Rep. Frank Burns, D-Cambria, Republican House Speaker Mike Turzai last week approved formation of a Blue Lives Matter Caucus, which quickly attracted 22 other members.
As envisioned by its founder Burns, the new caucus is a “bipartisan, multi-issue group” dedicated to “all issues and concerns related to law enforcement.” Burns is the sponsor of H.B. 158, a Blue Lives Matter bill that would make assaulting a law enforcement officer a hate crime, but said the caucus will have a broad approach and appeal.
“Law enforcement officers risk their lives daily so the people of this commonwealth can enjoy peace and security. They deserve the highest level of protection from targeted acts of violence the law can provide. They also deserve policies and programs that will help them perform their jobs more effectively,” Burns wrote in his request to Turzai, who swiftly gave his approval.
Burns said he welcomes Democratic and Republican membership in the new caucus, is encouraged that House members of both parties have signed on, and hopes that the number continues climbing.
“These are very difficult times to be a law enforcement officer, and one thing that unites the Blue Lives Matter Caucus is a firm commitment to doing all that we can to support those who protect us, in any way that we can,” Burns said. “I look forward to working with anyone who shares this belief, be they Democratic or Republican, and as the caucus founder I’m proud to launch this new effort.”
Such caucuses are formal alliances of like-minded House members interested in advancing or drawing attention to a particular topic or cause. For example, Burns also holds membership in the Coal, Manufacturing, Oil and Gas, Rural and Second Amendment caucuses.
Burns said he hopes to arrange an inaugural meeting of the Blue Lives Matter Caucus soon, at which time its organizational structure will be determined. He anticipates having Democratic and Republican co-chairmen.