HARRISBURG, PA – The state Senate today passed bipartisan legislation sponsored by Senator Mike Regan (R-31, Cumberland and York) that would increase the penalties for trespassing on critical infrastructure facilities in the Commonwealth.
Regan said Senate Bill 652 closes a gap in current law to differentiate between trespassing on everyday property or buildings and trespassing on critical infrastructure facilities.
“It is important to understand that trespassing and damaging facilities is currently illegal,” said Regan. “This legislation is not banning activity that is already against the law but instead it specifies exactly what level of crime a person can be charged with when they partake in such illegal activities.”
Senate Bill 652 would make trespassing on a critical infrastructure facility a third degree felony and doing damage or inhibiting business a second degree felony. Each would carry a maximum prison term of one year and a minimum fine of $5000.
“Businesses that operate critical infrastructure facilities simply want to be able to do so without the interference from trespassers,” said Regan. “In the event that someone does trespass – despite signage or fences- they want Pennsylvania law to have teeth in order to hold those individuals accountable.”
Twenty-one categories are outlined within the definition of “Critical Infrastructure Facility” within the legislation.
“Pennsylvanians rely on many of these facilities for electricity, telephone service, clean water, natural gas, and delivery of goods,” stated Regan. “Halting operations not only affects the business but the people of this Commonwealth and its economy. Damage to facilities can do the same but can also be harmful to people’s health – or even life-threatening.”
Senate Bill 652 now goes to the House for consideration.
Video of Senator Regan’s Floor Remarks are available here.