|Posted:||February 8, 2017 02:39 PM|
|From:||Representative Carol Hill-Evans|
|To:||All House members|
|Subject:||Terroristic Threats Involving Educational Facilities (Re-Introduction)|
|Over the years, we have all been shocked and alarmed by acts of violence targeting educational institutions in Pennsylvania and around the nation. My legislation would address current deficiencies with regards to the way violent threats against educational facilities are handled in our judicial system.
In the very near future, I plan to re-introduce legislation – House Bill 468 of the 2015-2016 Legislative Session – which would increase penalties associated with terroristic threats which place fear upon anyone who is employed, educated, or otherwise located in an educational facility.
Currently, anyone who threatens occupants of a building, place of assembly, or facility of public transportation will be charged with a misdemeanor of the first degree. If the individual causes a diversion, he or she will be charged with a felony of the third degree. Furthermore, such matters are handled by district magistrates’ offices. These penalties are simply inadequate with regards to threats against vulnerable children in a school.
My proposal would increase these penalties if the terroristic threat is made towards an educational facility. Specifically, a first offense would constitute a felony of the third degree and second or subsequent offenses would constitute a felony of the second degree. If the individual causes the occupants of the educational facility to be diverted from their normal or customary operations, he or she would be charged with a felony of the second degree. Second and subsequent offenses would result in a felony of the first degree. In addition, such matters would only be handled by the Court of Common Pleas.
Furthermore, the jail, prison, or detention facility holding the individual would be required to immediately notify the local law enforcement agency that made the arrest if and when the individual posts bail. The local law enforcement agency would then be required to immediately contact the educational facility. This victims' notification process is similar to that required already for harassment or other violent offenses.
As legislators, I believe it is important to hold those who impose terroristic threats upon anyone employed, educated, or located in an educational facility to the fullest extent of the law. Please join me in co-sponsoring this important legislation.