ACLU-PA Position: Opposes
HB 103 would duplicate an existing offense, § 2703 Assault by prisoner, which is currently limited to criminalizing contact with bodily fluids only when committed by an incarcerated person against correctional staff. The new offense created under HB 103 uses this same definition, but expands it to apply to any person who commits that offense against any law enforcement officer. Offenses against police officers already carry serious penalties under current law; creating new ones only expands police power to arrest and prosecutorial power to stack charges against defendants.
Not only would HB 103 needlessly expand the crimes code, in our new normal under COVID-19, its communicable disease provision could be weaponized broadly against civilians, including those engaged in First Amendment protected speech, protest, or assembly. And perhaps most troubling, its unscientific assumptions about HIV transmission—rooted in fear, stigma, and ignorance—become grounds to impose unjustifiable and disproportionately severe penalties on people living with HIV.
Check the bill's status here.