Bill to raise underage drinking, public drunkenness fines awaits Gov. Tom Corbett

The General Assembly passed legislation today that would let judges give larger fines to people nabbed for underage drinking and public drunkenness.

The bill was sent to Gov. Tom Corbett for his signature.

State Sen. Jake Corman, R-Benner Township, introduced the bill that increases the maximum fine for both offenses to $1,000. That’s up from the current maximum fine of $300 for public drunkenness and $500 for underage drinking on second offenses and ones after that.

Corman noted that the $300 public drunkenness fine hasn’t been increased since 1972. College towns, including State College, have a particularly difficult time dealing with drinking violations, he said.

“The goal here is to give the judiciary discretion to make a larger impact, as it sees fit, on the person violating the law, and hopefully providing a deterrent so that the individual makes better decisions the next time around,” Corman said. “Additionally, if higher fines are chosen, the municipality and taxpayers will see relief in the cost they bear, which will now be paid by the violator, rather than through increased property taxes.”

A spokeswoman for Gov. Tom Corbett said he likely would sign the bill.