(GA Recorder) – State lawmakers want to make it a crime to steal a package from someone else’s porch.

The piracy on the porch is nothing new, but proponents argue that the tougher penalty would reflect society’s increasing reliance on delivery drivers and mail carriers, especially during the COVID-19 pandemic. They also say the change would align the ramifications of state law with the federal level.

According to the law, a defendant would serve between one and five years in prison. The measure, which also covers postal theft, was passed on Wednesday with 101 to 67 votes, most of which were partisan. It is now moving to the Senate.

“What if you need this medication and you can’t get it because someone took it off your porch?” said Rep. Chuck Efstration, a Republican from Dacula. “You know, these are the consequences that we really need to think about.

“This is not a discussion of ivory towers. This is a real impact for Georgians who will lose their medicines and goods off the porch, ”he said.

Republican Ed Acetz, a Republican from Acworth, said the harsher sentences were necessary because the theft hurt more than just the recipient of the package.

“What (the bill) wants to address is an act that may seem small to some and becomes a crime against a producer, a shipper, a customer in the backend and also against the employer who depends on his employees for doing so to be able to stay at home, work from home and be productive from home and get home supplies related to this pandemic or similar circumstances, ”Setzler said.

However, critics say the GOP bill is a jerky response that would hit thieves with penalties disproportionate to the crime.

“There are so many ways we can respond to social problems. So many options, ”said Rep. Josh McLaurin, a Sandy Springs Democrat.

“Some of them take longer than others. Invest in health care, invest in education, give people opportunities so they don’t feel like they have to roll the dice and take a random package off a porch to see what’s in it, and maybe they’ll sell it and feed it her family this week. ”