In this image from video, Rep. Scott Perry (R-York) speaks at the US Capitol Thursday, Jan. 7, 2021. (House Television via AP) Scott Perry
In this image from video, Rep. Scott Perry (R-York) speaks at the US Capitol Thursday, Jan. 7, 2021. (House Television via AP)

Scott Perry voted against the COVID-19 Hate Crimes Bill, but it still passed the US House of Representatives and was signed into law on Thursday.

WASHINGTON — US Rep. Scott Perry was the only member of Pennsylvania’s congressional delegation to vote against the anti-Asian hate crimes bill President Joe Biden signed into law Thursday.

The COVID-19 Hate Crimes Bill was written to increase awareness about hate crimes against Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders and implement programs to protect them.

The bill went to a vote in the US House of Representatives on Tuesday, and passed in a final vote of 364-62.

“Surprise, surprise @RepScottPerry was one of the 62” who voted against the bill, said former state Auditor General Eugene DePasquale in a Tweet calling out Perry.

DePasquale, the former state Auditor General, ran against Perry for the congressional seat that represents York County in November and lost.  

Hate Crimes Against Asian Americans on the Rise

Since the COVID-19 pandemic began, there has been an increase in hate crimes and violence against Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders. 

More than 6,600 incidents of hate crimes against Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders were reported to Stop AAPI Hate over the last year—a 74% increase over the previous year. Women make up 64.8% of those reports. 

Pennsylvania had the fifth highest number of hate crime incidents reported (97) in the US.

What is the COVID-19 Hate Crimes Act?

Introduced in the US Senate by Hawaii Sen. Mazie Hirono, the bill was co-sponsored by 44 Senators, including Pennsylvania Sen. Bob Casey.

It requires federal, state, local, and tribal law enforcement agencies to:

  • Establish an online reporting tool for hate crimes or incidents
  • Ensure the online reporting tool is accessible to those with disabilities 
  • Provide the online reporting tool in multiple languages
  • Collect data on hate crimes
  • Expand public education and raise awareness of hate crimes

Additionally, a federal grant program will be established to help states create:

  • Educational programs to raise awareness of hate crimes
  • A state-run hate crimes hotline for reporting purposes 
  • Training programs for law enforcement officials to recognize hate crimes

Through the grant program, states will be required to report their collected data semi-annually to the federal government. Any state that fails to do so will have to return the grant money with interest.

Prior to the vote, Pennsylvania Rep. Chrissy Houlahan (D-Chester) tweeted in support of the bill

The Full Pennsylvania Roll Call

US House of Representatives

  • Brendan Boyle (D-Philadelphia) Yea
  • Matt Cartwright (D-Lackawanna) Yea
  • Madeleine Dean (D-Montgomery) Yea
  • Mike Doyle (D-Allegheny) Yea
  • Dwight Evans (D-Philadelphia) Yea
  • Brian Fitzpatrick (R-Bucks) Yea
  • Chrissy Houlahan (D-Chester) Yea
  • John Joyce (R-Blair) Yea
  • Fred Keller (R-Snyder)Yea
  • Mike Kelly (R-Butler) Yea
  • Conor Lamb (D-Allegheny) Yea
  • Dan Meuser (R-Luzerne) Yea
  • Scott Perry (R-York) Nay
  • Guy Reschenthaler (R-Allegheny) Yea
  • Mary Gay Scanlon (D-Delaware) Yea
  • Lloyd Smucker (R-Lancaster) Yea
  • Glenn Thompson (R-Centre) Yea
  • Susan Wild (D-Lehigh) Yea

US Senate

  • Bob Casey (D) Yea
  • Pat Toomey (R) Yea