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Pennsylvania state lawmakers tease bills marking ‘Jan. 6 Day’ in schools

It would likely face virulent opposition from the Republican-controlled Senate, where many object to the “partisan” framing of the events as an insurrection.

Published: January 17, 2023 2:10pm

Updated: January 18, 2023 6:16am

(The Center Square) -

Three state lawmakers from Philadelphia said they will soon introduce legislation establishing the observance of “Jan. 6 Day” in public schools.

The companion proposals from Sen. Art Haywood and Reps. Chris Rabb and Ed Neilson – all Democrats representing districts in Philadelphia – would also support a resolution to formally condemn the events at the Capitol in Washington, D.C. on Jan. 6, 2021 and designate the two-year anniversary of the incident as "1/6 Day" in Pennsylvania.

Rabb and Neilson teased the upcoming legislation last week and said schools should recognize the day and honor the five police officers who died after their “hours-long battle with more than 9,000 rioters.”

“This legislation is about embracing truth and being a country that is actively engaged in fighting systems of oppression,” Rabb said. “This moment demands reconciliation with a clear-eyed and honest assessment of what it will take to get back on the path toward atonement and healing that we so desperately need.”

While in sessions past such a bill would have been ignored by the GOP majority, a narrowly-divided House might consider the proposal. It would likely face virulent opposition from the Republican-controlled Senate, where many object to the “partisan” framing of the events as an insurrection.

Senate State Government Committee Chairman Cris Dush, R-Bellefonte, said Monday that not one of the hundreds of protestors arrested and charged for their actions stand accused of insurrection.

“There’s not been one single charge against any of those people for insurrection,” he said during a meeting to consider a different bill. “So, in this committee, we are not using that term.”

Pa Senate State Government committee Monday afternoon.Chair Cris Dush - nobody has been charged with insurrection. pic.twitter.com/cOMm6oPSVU— Roxbury News (@RoxburyNews) January 10, 2023

Two U.S. Capitol Police Officers, Brian Sicknick and Howard Liebengood, died in the days following the attack. The D.C. Medical Examiner ruled Sicknick “died of natural causes” after suffering injuries during a clash with protestors, though the department later acknowledged he died "in the line of duty."

Liebengood, a Capitol guard, died by suicide three days after the riot. Three Metropolitan Police Department officers – Jeffrey Smith and Kyle DeFreytag and Gunther Hashida – later also completed suicide. All three responded to Capitol Hill that day, a department spokeswoman confirmed to CNN in July, following the deaths of DeFreytag and Hashida.

Smith is the only other officer recognized as dying “in the line of duty” after the D.C. Police and Firefighters Retirement and Relief Board determined that his suicide came as a result of injuries sustained on Jan. 6.

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