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Pennsylvania Legislation

Legislative Priorities

State Legislation:

SB 3: Abortion restriction

Sponsor: Brooks - Mercer County

This bill would reduce a person's access to abortive services from 24 to 20 weeks, with no exceptions for victims of rape and incest

PCAR opposes this bill.
 

SB 10: Penalties for immigrant refuge policies

Sponsor: Reschenthaler - Allegheny County

This bill would penalize municipalities that provide "refuge" to immigrant communities, withholding critical funds for victim services, homeless shelters, and other lifelines for vulnerable populations. The bill could further undermine the safety of immigrant victims and their families.

PCAR opposes this bill.
 

SR 75: Study on Pennsylvania's rape kit backlog

Sponsor: Mensch - Montgomery County

This bill would commission the Legislative Budget and Finance Committee to conduct a study on the current rape kit backlog in Pennsylvania, including an assessment of federal and state funding sources to expedite kit testing, the capacity of law enforcement, and the state's overall compliance with Act 27 requirements pertaining to victim notification, consent, reporting and other requirements.

This bill was adopted on May 24, 2017.
 

SB 560: Body Worn Cameras

Sponsor: Greenleaf - Montgomery County

This bill would establish guidelines for law enforcement’s use of body worn cameras. The bill does not include mechanisms to safeguard sexual assault victims’ rights to privacy, safety, and the support of a rape crisis advocate in the context of being recorded by law enforcement. There are further concerns about access to and storage of recordings.

PCAR neither supports or opposes this bill. We have concerns about victim privacy and safety that have not yet been addressed in the bill.
 

SB 554: Safe Harbor for minor victims of sex trafficking

Sponsor: Greenleaf - Montgomery County

This bill would protect, rather than prosecute, children who are commercially sexually exploited. Through a combination of federal funds and state-level fines on traffickers, pimps, and consumers of commercial sexual exploitation, critical services would be established for child victims.

PCAR supports this bill.
 

HB 114: Medical assistance for children

Sponsor: Baker - Tioga County

This bill would require individuals who are applying for medical assistance for their child(ren) to provide information about the noncustodial parent prior to receiving assistance. An exception was added for victims of domestic violence, per the Family Violence Option waiver in the Temporary Assistance to Needy Families program.

PCAR requests an amendment to include victims of sexual violence, whose offenders may not be intimate partners or members of the family.
 

HB 489: Enhanced penalties for indecent exposure to minors

Sponsor: Quigley - Montgomery County

This bill would enhance penalties for offenses involving indecent exposure to minors under the age of 16, who are present and see the exposed genitals. Where the offense is a misdemeanor of the first degree, aggravating circumstances would include number of children under 16 who were present, the age of each person present under the age of 16, and the nature and character of the indecent exposure.

PCAR supports this bill.
 

HB 594: Prohibiting accelerated sentences for sexually offending a child

Sponsor: Benninghoff - Centre County

This bill would prohibit the state or court to authorize an Accelerated Rehabilitative Disposition for people who have sexually assaulted a child under the age of 18. This would include the following offenses: rape, involuntary deviate sexual intercourse, and aggravated indecent assault.

PCAR supports this bill.
 

HB 631: Mandatory probation for certain sexual offenses

Sponsor: Marsico - Dauphin County

This bill would require a three-year period of probation for people who have completed their sentences for Tier III sexual offenses. Tier III offenses include: kidnapping, rape, statutory sexual assault, involuntary deviate sexual intercourse, sexual assault, and aggravated indecent assault, incest, aggravated sexual abuse, sexual abuse, abusive sexual contact with a victim under the age of 13, and/or an attempt to conspire or solicit to commit such offenses.

PCAR supports this bill.
 

HB 741: Technical correction in mandatory minimum sentences

Sponsor: Stephens - Montgomery County

This bill provides a technical correction to evidentiary and sentencing procedures in Pennsylvania. This correction would reinstate mandatory minimum sentencing for a range of crimes, including sexually violent crimes against children and older adults and for failure to comply with sex offender registration requirements.

PCAR supports provisions related to sexual violence against children and older adults and failure to comply with sex offender registration requirements.
 

SB 461 & HB 1523: DNA Collection

Sponsors: Killion - Delaware County (SB 461) and Marsico - Dauphin County (HB 1523)

These bills would expand the crimes for which DNA samples are collected and processed. They would strengthen public safety by collecting and uploading DNA into a national database, aiding law enforcement to identify and prevent repeat offenders.

PCAR supports these bills.

PCAR Letter to the House of Representatives

PCAR also reviews legislation at the request of allied stakeholders, such as PCADV, CVAP, OVA, PSP and the PDAA.
For questions or comments, please contact Kristen Houser at 717-728-9740 ext. 144 or Donna Greco at 717-728-9740 ext. 114

Take Action

 

5 Ways to Get Involved with Public Policy

  1. Contact your local Senators and Representatives to advocate for an issue. It can be as easy as sending an email, posting a letter, calling their offices to leave a message, or scheduling an appointment in an elected official’s office to speak about an issue. Elected officials rely upon their constituents to tell them what the problems are and what is important to their districts.
     
  2. Register to vote for the upcoming elections. Check out our resources about voter engagement to prepare for election day.
     
  3. Attend local rallies, press conferences, other advocacy days at the Pennsylvania Capitol to advocate for issues that inspire you.
     
  4. Stay informed! Keep updated on current issues by reading newspapers, watching the news, and following PCAR’s social media pages for updates on local and federal policy.
     
  5. Utilize PCAR’s talking points and “What to Know” documents for information in your everyday conversations. Create discussions with family, friends, and co-workers about policy issues to enhance their knowledge.
     

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