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House of Representatives
Session of 2017 - 2018 Regular Session


Posted: February 2, 2017 12:01 PM
From: Representative Peter Schweyer
To: All House members
Subject: Clarifying the Penalty for Aggravated Assaults Against Employees of Public Transportation (Re-Introduction)
In the near future, I will be re-introducing legislation – former House Bill 279 of the 2015-2016 Legislative Session – to clarify the enhanced penalty for aggravated assaults committed against employees of transportation companies, such as CAT, LANTA, RRTA, BARTA, SEPTA, ACT, and other such transit authorities statewide.

As many of you may know, physical assaults against bus drivers have increased statewide. These assaults have made operating a bus or train a dangerous occupation. For instance:
  • Between 2010 and 2011, assaults on SEPTA drivers increased from 18 to 91; and
  • From 2012 to 2014, SEPTA reported:
    • 52 assaults against bus drivers and 1 train operator;
    • 62 assaults against SEPTA police officers;
    • 5 assaults against maintenance custodians and managers; and
    • 2 each against station managers and police sergeants.

Currently, aggravated assault committed against an employee of an agency, entity or company engaged in public transportation is graded as a felony of the first degree. However, employees of transportation companies are not included in the protected classes which generates application of an enhanced penalty for offenders charged with aggravated assault. Consequently, my legislation would include “employees of a transportation company” as a protected class, thereby, ensuring that the enhanced penalty (felony of the first or second degree) will be triggered against such offenders.

It is my belief that making employees of transportation companies a protected class is a matter of public safety. Thank you for joining me as a co-sponsor of this important legislation.

Introduced as HB986