Judiciary Committee Advances Bills to Protect Essential Infrastructure and Minors in Casinos

HARRISBURG – The Senate Judiciary Committee advanced two bills today focused on protecting essential infrastructure and unaccompanied minors in casinos, according to the committee’s chair, Sen Lisa Baker (R-20).

Senate Bill 819 would increase the fines and penalties for individuals who vandalize or trespass upon any part of a critical infrastructure facility.

“Increasingly, we encounter threats to our utility infrastructure from international actors. Companies are making substantial investments to provide additional security to protect crucial services to the greatest extent possible,” Baker said. “We are compelled to address power disruptions caused by deliberate acts of vandalism, a situation that is entirely unacceptable. This bill increases the penalties for trespass and vandalism that damages critical infrastructure.”

Senate Bill 1021 would authorize courts to order evaluations and treatment for individuals with gambling disorders and establish penalties and regulations for leaving a minor unattended at a gaming facility.

“Sometimes we are called upon to address situations that strain our understanding. This certainly holds true when a person leaves a young child unattended in a car or hotel room to fulfill their gambling compulsion. The risk to the child is evident, particularly when they are left in a car during extreme hot or cold weather conditions,” Baker said. “The gambling establishments recognize the seriousness of the problem and support our efforts to approve corrective legislation.”

If the bill is signed into law, penalties would be increased, children and youth agencies would be involved and involuntary exclusion from casinos would be invoked. If individuals are found to be violating the self-exclusionary list, they would undergo evaluation for a potential gambling disorder, the results of which could factor into their sentencing.

Both bills are part of the Senate Republican effort to improve community safety across Pennsylvania. The bills now head to the full Senate for consideration.


Cara Laudenslager

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