Portman’s bill to protect nonprofits, churches from terrorist attacks becomes law

Bipartisan legislation led by U.S. Sen. Rob Portman (R-OH) to provide funding to secure nonprofit facilities and faith-based buildings from terrorist attacks became law on Jan. 24 with the president’s signature.

“The threats and senseless attacks we’ve seen across our country are attacks on our values and this bipartisan legislation will help protect faith and cultural-based institutions in Ohio and across our country,” Sen. Portman said on Monday. “I’m proud that President Trump has signed this important legislation into law.”

The Protecting Faith-Based and Nonprofit Organizations from Terrorism Act of 2019, H.R. 2476 — which Sen. Portman sponsored in the Senate as S. 1539 — authorizes $75 million annually for fiscal years 2020 through 2024 for the U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s Nonprofit Security Grant Program (NSGP).

The NSGP provides grants to nonprofits and faith-based organizations to help secure their facilities against a potential terrorist attack, according to a bill summary provided by Sen. Portman’s office, which noted that $50 million will be available for nonprofits located within high-risk urban areas, while the remaining $25 million is for organizations located outside such areas.

Funding may be used for target-hardening activities, personnel training and any other appropriate activity defined by the administrator of the Federal Emergency Management Agency, according to the summary.

“Ensuring that synagogues, religious and cultural institutions, and nonprofit organizations have the resources and training they need to secure their facilities is one way Congress can help address this unnecessary violence that has tragically become more and more common,” said Sen. Portman. “As I’ve said many times, there is no place for hatred or bigotry of any kind toward our fellow citizens.”