Judiciary Committee Moves Legislation to Protect Animals
HARRISBURG – House Judiciary Committee Majority Chairman Ron Marsico (R-Dauphin) moved animal protection legislation today during the committee’s scheduled weekly voting meeting.
“We need to be the voice of these animals who are mistreated and forgotten. This legislation ensures their safety and holds abusers accountable for their actions,” said Marsico. “And we need to prevent this abuse from occurring by making sure everyone is aware of what neglect and cruelty mean when it comes to the laws in Pennsylvania.”
House Bill 1238
would update and clarify the existing animal abuse statute and increase the penalties for abusing any animal. It would restructure and more clearly outline the penalties for animal abuse, maintaining a summary offense for minor offenses while ensuring more serious acts are subject to misdemeanor charges, and providing that anyone convicted of the most egregious acts of animal abuse are subject to a felony. Current law only allows a felony conviction for animal fighting, seriously abusing zoo animals or an endangered species, or the repeated serious abuse of cats or dogs.
In addition to House Bill 1238, several other bills moved through the committee today:
• House Bill 168
would make it a misdemeanor of the third degree to misrepresent military service or honors under certain circumstances. It would apply where a person, with intent to obtain money, property or another benefit, fraudulently presents himself to be a soldier or a veteran, or to be the recipient of a service medal or other military decoration.
• House Bill 274
would amend the Protection From Abuse Act so the court may order the defendant to refrain from committing an act of animal cruelty against the plaintiff’s cat or dog.
• House Bill 671
would provide penalties that can be imposed against local jurisdictions which promulgate local firearm control measures that are preempted under current state law. The bill deters local jurisdictions from promulgating such illegal ordinances by providing that any party who provides written notice prior to filing suit and then successfully challenges one of these illegal local firearm ordinances will be entitled to reimbursement from the offending jurisdiction for their reasonable attorneys’ fees and costs to bring the lawsuit, and any loss of income suffered because of the illegal ordinance.
• House Bill 939
would amend the Public Employee Pension Forfeiture Act to provide that forfeiture occurs when a public employee or public official is convicted of or pleads guilty to an offense graded as a felony.
The legislation will now go to the full House for consideration.
Representative Ronald Marsico
Pennsylvania House of Representatives
Media Contact: Autumn R. Southard, 717.652.3721