"The Timothy J. Piazza Anti-Hazing Law" was unanimously approved by the Senate Judiciary Committee Tuesday, as the second preliminary hearing for 11 Beta Theta Pi brothers charged in connection with Piazza's death continues in Centre County.
Pa. Senate Majority Leader Jake Corman, R-Benner Township, and Piazza's parents, Jim and Evelyn, introduced the bill Friday at the courthouse in Bellefonte.
Video footage showed that 19-year-old Piazza had 18 alcoholic drinks in 82 minutes on Feb. 2, 2017, at a bid acceptance event at the Beta Theta Pi fraternity house on Penn State's campus. He allegedly fell down the basement steps at the fraternity multiple times, suffering traumatic injuries to his head and spleen. He died on Feb. 4, 2017. Twenty-six defendants in total have been charged in connection with his death.
The bill would create tiers for hazing. Hazing resulting in serious bodily injury or death would be a third-degree felony, which could include fines of up to $15,000 and imprisonment up to seven years. Hazing resulting in bodily injury would be a third-degree misdemeanor, which could include fines of up to $2,500 and imprisonment up to one year. Other hazing would be a summary offense.
It would also establish "organizational" and "institutional" hazing categories.
In a press release from Corman's office, the senator thanked Sen. Stewart Greenleaf for swift consideration of the bill.
“The bill has been carefully crafted because we want this to be a model for changing anti-hazing laws nationwide,” Corman said. “My intent with this legislation is clear — to prevent death or serious injury due to hazing so that families, such as Tim’s, never experience tragedies like this ever again.”
The anti-hazing legislation is next up for consideration in the full state Senate.