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Senate of Pennsylvania
Session of 2015 - 2016 Regular Session


Posted: December 5, 2014 04:16 PM
From: Senator Christine M. Tartaglione and Sen. Stewart J. Greenleaf
To: All Senate members
Subject: Co-Sponsorship of Legislation: Assault on Public Transportation Employees
In the near future, we plan to re-introduce legislation, formerly S.B. 282 of 2013-2014, which would provide heightened penalties for offenses committed against public transportation employees. The intent of this legislation is to reduce and eliminate future assaults against such employees.

Under current law, a protected class of public servants has been created under section 2702 (c) of Title 18 (Crimes and Offenses). This class, which does not include public transportation employees, receives protection from additional offenses of aggravated assault while performing assigned job duties. Additional offenses against the employees listed in section 2702 (c) include attempting to cause or intentionally or knowingly causing bodily injury, attempting by physical menace to put in fear of imminent serious bodily injury and using tear gas or electronic incapacitation devices. When committed against the protected class of employees, these additional offenses are considered second degree felony offenses; however, when committed against transportation employees, they are graded as first or second degree misdemeanors.

Unfortunately, at this time, public transportation workers are only protected from an offense of aggravated assault if a person attempts to cause or intentionally, knowingly or recklessly cause serious bodily injury—a first degree felony offense. No second degree felony offenses of aggravated assault against public transportation employees exist.

Our legislation would include public transportation employees in the protected class of employees found under section 2702 (c) of Title 18. This would provide for additional offenses of aggravated assault against public transportation employees to ensure they receive protection equal to that of other public servants under the law.

The number of assaults against public transportation employees continues to grow each year. We cannot allow the lives of more workers and passengers to be endangered without providing adequate protections and repercussions for committing such offenses. Now is the time to take action.

This legislative proposal has already received support from the following organizations and offices: AFL-CIO, SEPTA, the Pittsburgh Port Authority, the City of Philadelphia, the Philadelphia District Attorney’s Office, the Pennsylvania Public Transportation Association, the Amalgamated Transit Union Local 85, Transport Workers Union Local 234, the City of Philadelphia Police Department, the Fraternal Order of Police Pennsylvania State Lodge and the NAACP Philadelphia Branch. Please join us in supporting and protecting all public transportation employees throughout the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania.

This legislation was co-sponsored previously by Senators Browne, Stack, Brewster, Hughes, Rafferty and Costa.

Introduced as SB269