Bill would protect Pennsylvania monuments from vandalism

The Tomb of the Unknown Revolutionary War Soldier in August 2013 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Todd DeFeo/The DeFeo Groupe)

A proposed bill in the Pennsylvania Senate would protect monuments from vandalism.

Senate Bill 1321, sponsored by state Sen. Doug Mastriano, R-33, was recently assigned to the Senate Judiciary Committee.

According to a news release from Mastriano, the bill would strengthen existing state code and implement new deterrents. As part of the bill, the grading and severity of an offense would be based on the damage cost, grading comparable to retail theft charges in the Keystone State.

“Unfortunately, without effective state-level legislation in place to discourage monument vandalism, this type of action has been occurring across our nation,” Mastriano said in a news release. “This type of behavior in a free society demands repercussions.”

As part of the legislation, the State Attorney General would prioritize the prosecution of any matters related to monuments’ vandalism in Pennsylvania.

Mastriano noted that the measure correlates the costs to fix or replace a monument with the grading of the charge and the fines and period of incarceration.

Recent “protests” nationwide have vandalized or destroyed monuments, and President Donald Trump recently issued an executive order related to monuments on federal property.

Mastriano partnered with state Sens. Dave Arnold, R-48, Judy Ward, R-30, and Dave Argall, R-29, on the bill.

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Sightseers’ Delight started publishing in June 2016. The site, published by The DeFeo Groupe, collects and curates content about places where historical events large and small happened. The site builds off the legacy of The Travel Trolley, which launched in June 2009. The site aimed to be a virtual version of the trolley tours offered in so many cities.