Toohil’s Bill to Increase Penalties for Gang-Related Crimes Approved by House Committee
HARRISBURG – Legislation which would enhance the penalties related to gang-related criminal activity, sponsored by state Rep. Tarah Toohil (R-Luzerne), today was unanimously approved by the House Judiciary Committee. House Bill 2507 now moves to the full House for consideration.
“I would like to thank committee chairman, Rep. Ron Marsico, and other members of the committee for their support for this important piece of legislation,” said Toohil. “House Bill 2507 seeks to address a serious problem that is plaguing Hazleton and many other Pennsylvania communities – gang-related crime and violence.”
Toohil’s legislation would direct the Pennsylvania Commission on Sentencing to increase the penalties for gang-related offenses, including crimes that benefit a street gang, crimes that occur during the recruitment of gang members and crimes in retaliation for withdrawing from a gang or helping someone withdraw from a gang. More than two dozen states now have similar laws in place.
Toohil pointed to the gang-related attack of a 13-year-old Hazleton girl last March as an example of the type of crime her legislation would help to discourage.
“Pennsylvania is behind the times in dealing with gang-related violence,” said Toohil. “My proposal would give police departments a tool to legally identify these crimes and judges the power to impose stronger sentences on those who commit them. Hazleton and other communities have seen an increase in gang-related activity and we need to do something about it now, before more innocent victims suffer.”
House Bill 2507 has the support of the Pennsylvania District Attorneys Association, the Pennsylvania Office of Attorney General, the Pennsylvania Chiefs of Police Association and the Pennsylvania State Police.
For more information on Toohil and her legislative priorities, visit www.RepToohil.com
State Representative Tarah Toohil
116th District, Pennsylvania House of Representatives
Rep. Toohil’s Office