Feb. 03, 2015

HARRISBURG – Majority Chairman Ron Marsico (R-Dauphin) is pleased to announce that today, during the Judiciary Committee’s scheduled weekly voting meeting, his legislation creating the offense of cyber harassment of a child was passed unanimously.

House Bill 229 would make cyber harassment of a child a punishable offense. This would include the use of electronic communications to repeatedly make statements or offer opinions about a child’s sexuality or sexual activity or make statements about a child’s physical characteristics or mental health that are intended to and would cause serious emotional distress to a child. This would allow intervention by law enforcement and juvenile probation officers who would initially review the case if it involved a juvenile offender. If appropriate, a juvenile offender could be placed in a diversionary program rather than formally adjudicated delinquent. Otherwise, a person who engages in such conduct would be prosecuted in court, rather than be issued a summary citation, reflecting the seriousness of this form of child abuse.

“Every child in this Commonwealth has the right to grow up free from intimidation, torment and emotional distress. They deserve to grow up in an environment that allows them to focus their energy on achieving their full potential,” said Marsico. “I believe House Bill 229 will go a long way toward helping children to do so, and I was pleased to have the support of the members in passing this bill out of committee.”

In addition to House Bill 229, several other bills moved through the committee today, including:

House Bill 89 would change the automatic retirement age for judges and magisterial district judges from 70 to 75 years old.

House Bill 90 is a joint resolution that would amend the Constitution of Pennsylvania to raise the mandatory retirement age of justices, judges and justices of the peace from age 70 to age 75.

House Bill 221 would require training for magisterial district judges and police in the proper handling of mental illness and intellectual disabilities.

House Bill 215 would expand the offense of neglect of a care-dependent person and create a new offense of abuse of a care dependent person.

The legislation will now go to the House floor for further consideration.

Representative Ronald Marsico
105th District
Pennsylvania House of Representatives

Media Contact: Autumn R. Southard, 717.652.3721