HARRISBURG, PA – November 14, 2023 – Senator Lisa M. Boscola (D-Northampton) commends the House Game & Fisheries Committee for its favorable passage (22:2) of her bill (SB709). This most recent successful vote helps take a significant step forward in the protection of bald eagles in our Commonwealth, establishing stronger penalties for the killing of bald and golden eagles, safeguarding our nation’s symbol.

“I have sponsored this bill to protect bald and golden eagles and have advocated for its passage over multiple legislative sessions. The bald eagle holds immense representation on seals, buildings, monuments, and state flags, including ours. It is our duty to ensure their continued presence in our skies,” said Senator Boscola.

Senate Bill 709 has seen progress through various legislative sessions, with the latest version receiving overwhelming support from the Senate Chamber (48:2) earlier this summer.

The unfortunate trend of eagle poaching continues to plague the United States, making it imperative for Pennsylvania to take proactive measures. Senator Boscola emphasized, “Disturbing cases in Oregon, Minnesota, Texas, and Washington over the last few years have shown that occurrences of eagle poaching still exist. With the successful return of the Bald Eagle off the endangered list, more and more will be seen in the wild. We want to send a message to potential poachers—’you cannot afford this. We are taking this seriously.'”

To address the issue, SB709 establishes a specific penalty of a $2,000 summary offense for killing a bald or golden eagle in Pennsylvania, a significant increase from the current $200 fine. The enhanced penalty is designed to serve as a deterrent against engaging in such harmful acts and to ensure the continued protection of these majestic birds.

“The removal of bald eagles from the endangered species list calls for stronger protection measures. We must not take any steps back, and with SB709, we are working towards a safer environment for these cherished national symbols,” stated Senator Boscola.

The legislation also underscores the profound implications of killing a bald eagle, considering their lifelong commitment to a single mate and the vital role both parents play in raising their young. Senator Boscola highlighted, “If left to live freely, we have the potential to witness the birth of 40 eaglets over a span of 20 years between a bald eagle pair, contributing to the restoration of these birds in Pennsylvania and our nation.”

In closing, Senator Boscola expressed hope for the bill’s final passage by the House, stating, “Our outlook this session is even more bright. I believe we have better odds of breaking through this year. I am encouraging the public to join us, to urge for stricter protections that will help protect these majestic eagles.”