ACLU-PA Position: Opposes
SB 842 would create a new, separate and duplicative offense for actions already criminalized as harassment under 18 Pa.C.S. § 2709, allowing prosecutors to stack harassment charges under § 2709 and the new offense that SB 842 would create under § 2709.2.
SB 842 would also punish harassment of sports officials more severely than almost any other target of harassment. Current law grades harassment convictions under § 2709(a) (1), (2), and (3) as summary offenses. Yet, SB 842 would grade the same conduct against a sports official as third-degree misdemeanors. The only current third-degree misdemeanor for harassment is under § 2709(c)(3), which enhances penalties if the harassment violated a protection order involving the same victim, family or household member.
In other words, SB 842 would carve out harassment of a sports official to be punished as severely as someone who harasses another person in direct violation of a protection order.
Check the bill's status here.