Lawmakers unveil anti-bullying legislation

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HARRISBURG, Pa. (WHTM) – A group of Pennsylvania lawmakers has introduced legislation to define and penalize the offense of bullying.

House Bill 2053 and Senate Bill 564 would define the crime of chronic bullying as “the intent to place an individual or group in fear of personal injury or property damage; or the intent to harass, annoy, or alarm an individual or group.”

State Rep. Kyle Mullins (D-Lackawanna), the prime sponsor of House Bill 2053, said lives are being ripped apart because of what bullying has become in the age of social media.

“There’s not one solution to a bullying epidemic that’s only worsening, but a deterrent is a critical first step,” Mullins said.​

Under the legislation, offenses committed by minors would be a third-degree misdemeanor. A third or following offense would be a second-degree misdemeanor.

Offenses committed by adults would be graded as a second-degree misdemeanor, with a third or subsequent offenses graded as a first-degree misdemeanor.

The House bill is expected to be assigned to a committee this week. The Senate bill is in the Judiciary Committee.​

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