ACLU-PA Position: Neutral
The ACLU-PA changed its position from 'oppose' to 'neutral' on HB 163 (PN 279). HB 163 (PN 279) would enhance invasion of privacy from a misdemeanor of the third degree (6 months–1 year incarcerated; $2,500 in fines) to a felony of the third degree (3.5–7 years in prison; $15,000 in fines) for adults or teachers convicted of this offense where minors or students are the victims. A second or subsequent offense would be graded as a second-degree felony (5–10 years in prison; $25,000 in fines).
While we remain concerned about the bill’s expansion of an existing offense and its overly punitive grading enhancement, two of the bill’s most worrisome provisions in HB 163 (PN 131) were eliminated by amendment in House Judiciary. Specifically, amendments struck the provision that criminalized the receipt of illicit images or videos and also eliminated a problematic defense provision that would have shifted the burden of proof from the state to the defense, expecting the defense to prove a negative.