Corman Bills to Address Problem
Drinking Pass Senate Judiciary Committee
– The Senate Judiciary Committee passed legislation sponsored by Sen. Jake
Corman (R-Bellefonte) aimed at reducing problematic drinking by increasing
maximum fines and assessing a fee that will go towards prevention measures.
Senator Corman was joined at the committee meeting by State College Borough
Police Chief Tom King, to advocate for the passage of the bills.
"Drinking violations are a burden across the Commonwealth, but in college and
university settings such as State College, the problem is crippling," stated
Corman. "I engaged a working group to discuss ways to try to reduce the
instances of alcohol violations, and these two bills represent what we feel are
the right steps moving forward."
Senate Bill 941, passed by a 12-1 margin, increases the maximum fine limit
for underage drinking violations and public drunkenness to $1,000. The current
maximum for underage violations is $500 on second and subsequent offenses, and
$300 for all offenses of public drunkenness.
"No one enjoys raising fees, but municipalities are continuously facing the
rising costs of alcohol related crimes, and those costs are borne by someone –
in this case, the taxpayer," Corman said. "The goal is to give the court
discretion to make a larger impact on the person violating the law, and
hopefully providing a deterrent to others. Additionally, if higher fines are
chosen, the municipality and taxpayers will see relief in the cost they bear,
this time paid by the actual violator."
$300 fine for public drunkenness has not been changed since 1972. If adjusted
for inflation, the fine would be $1,650.
Senate Bill 943, passed by a 11-2 margin, adds a $100 fee to all alcohol
related offenses in municipalities that include all or part of a university or
college, and choose to create an alcohol prevention unit. "We have seen a lot
of good come out of the efforts by the State College Borough Police and
University Police force to engage the student community and organizations to
prevent alcohol problems before they happen," said Corman. "Those types of
programs can have a big impact, and hopefully, the efforts will be able to
reduce the costs to taxpayers by preventing the alcohol violations from
Video from the Senate Judiciary Committee Meeting can be accessed at Senator
Corman's website: www.jakecorman.com.