Sen. Hwang: Legislation Cracks Down on Hoax Threats

May 8, 2017

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Sen. Tony Hwang on May 3 voted in favor of legislation to strengthen state law regarding incidents of “swatting”.

“Swatting” is falsely reporting an emergency such as a home invasion, an active shooter, or a hostage situation to get law enforcement or emergency responders to immediately respond to a location where no emergency exists.

“This legislation follows last year’s school safety legislation against threats to our schools,” said Sen. Hwang, who serves on the General Assembly’s Judiciary Committee where the swatting bill originated. “The bill aims to deter people from falsely reporting emergencies to law enforcement. These hoax threats lead to a massive and costly response from law enforcement and municipalities.  It’s a huge public safety hazard when first responders are diverted away from actual emergencies. This bill increases the criminal penalty for swatting and it has financial implications for the perpetrators.  Most importantly, it reiterates the message that such actions are not pranks and will be punished to the highest degree under our statutes.”

Under the legislation, violators could be sentenced to five years in prison and pay $5,000 fines in addition to paying the costs of the emergency response. The bill has the support of the Connecticut Police Chiefs’ Association and emergency personnel. It passed unanimously in the State Senate and now awaits a vote in the Connecticut House of Representatives.

In 2016, Sen. Hwang introduced legislation to increase the penalties for when a threat involves a preschool, K-12 school or an institution of higher education. The new law makes threats felonies which would result in a prison sentence.

* Sen. Hwang represents the 28th Senate District, which includes Easton, Fairfield, Newtown, Weston and Westport.  He can be reached at Tony.Hwang@cga.ct.gov and at 800 842-1421.  On the web:  www.SenatorHwang.com