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Anti-hazing bill named after Penn State pledge who died in 2017 passes PA Senate

HARRISBURG — A bill that pushes for stricter anti-hazing laws has unanimously passed the state Senate, according to a PA Senate Republicans release.

The measure comes after the 2017 death of Penn State sophomore Timothy Piazza, following a night of drinking at the Beta Theta Pi house during a fraternity pledge event.

The legislation, named ‘Timothy J. Piazza Antihazing Law’, focuses on prevention, enforcement and transparency in order to end hazing.

“The family of Tim Piazza, who died after a February 2017 fraternity pledge event, turned a parent’s worst nightmare into a mission to end hazing,” said Sen. Jake Corman, the bill’s sponsor. “It is my privilege to join them in this fight by comprehensively rewriting the state’s hazing laws. We are hopeful the House will act quickly and join us in taking a stand to prevent death or serious injury due to hazing so that families, such as Tim’s, never experience tragedies like this ever again.”

The bill increases penalties for those involved in hazing, requires schools to have policies and reporting procedures in place to stop hazing and establishes guidelines on hazing for organizations such as fraternities and sororities, the release states.

“We want Pennsylvania’s hazing laws to be a model for the United States,” Sen. Corman continued. “The carefully crafted bill provides law enforcement with the tools they need to fully prosecute those who engage in hazing-related activities, which we hope serves as a deterrent. At the same time, it provides safe harbor provisions so those who are nearby can help by calling for assistance for someone who may be in distress.”

Gov. Tom Wolf issued this statement on the passage:

I thank Senator Corman and bipartisan members of the Senate for advancing this important bill to combat hazing and help prevent another tragedy. We must give law enforcement the tools that they need to hold people accountable and we must ensure schools have proper safeguards to protect students and curb these practices. I urge the House to swiftly pass this bill and get it to my desk for my signature.

Senate Bill 1090 will now be sent to the House for consideration.