A blog of the Philadelphia Bar Association’s Criminal Justice Section

State Capitol Complex

House passes Clean Slate bill to seal low level criminal records.

The House Wednesday passed House Bill 1419 sponsored by Rep. Jordan Harris (D-Philadelphia), and Rep. Sheryl Delozier (R-Cumberland), that would create the Pennsylvania Clean State Law.

Building upon Act 5 of 2016, House Bill 1419 would be the first bill of its kind anywhere in the United States. The bill would automatically seal low-level, non-violent misdemeanors, summary offenses and non-conviction records – with no action required by the person.

Rep. Harris, Chair of the Pennsylvania Legislative Black Caucus, called the passage of the legislation a major milestone in criminal justice reform for the nation. Act 5 of 2016 allows for sealing of records if a petition is filed by the accused.

“House Bill 1419 will change criminal justice reform in the United States as we know it,” Rep. Harris said. “People would no longer have to suffer for mistakes they made years ago. They would no longer be subjected to life as a second-class citizen and would now be able to find gainful employment and successfully pursue a post-secondary education, among many other things. Today, we are sending a clear message that everyone deserves a second chance, regardless of your race, age, ZIP code or level of education.”

“People who had a criminal conviction from decades past and have turned their lives around, without any other police involvement, have faced employment barriers due to their prior bad actions,” Rep. Delozier said. “By sealing from public view minor criminal offenses which are at least 10 years old, individuals can have a clean slate to move on with their lives. In addition, this discourages recidivism, as well as requires restitution and court costs be paid for eligibility.”

House Fiscal Note and summary is available.

Bills Moving.

Child Abuse Reporting: House Bill 1527 (Stephens-R-Montgomery) further requiring the reporting of suspected to child abuse was reported from the House Appropriations Committee and passed by the House.  A House Fiscal Note and summary is available.  The bill now goes to the Senate for action.

Criminal Records: House Bill 1419 (Delozier-R-Cumberland) related to criminal record expungement was reported from the House Appropriations Committee and was passed by the House. A House Fiscal Note and summary is available.  The bill now goes to the Senate for action.

Destruction Of Documents: House Bill 1894 (Dush-R-Indiana) making destruction of Right-To-Know documents a criminal offense (sponsor summary) was reported out of the House State Government Committee and Tabled.

On the Governor’s Desk.

Domestic Violence: Senate Bill 449 (Bartolotta-R-Washington) related to probable cause arrests in domestic violence cases  (House Fiscal Noteand summary) was reported from the Senate Rules Committee and concurred in by the Senate.  The bill now goes to the Governor for his action.

Session Schedule.

Senate

April 16, 17, 18, 23, 24, 25

May 21, 22, 23

June 4, 5, 6, 11, 12, 13, 18, 19, 20, 25, 26, 27, 28, 29

House

April 16, 17, 18, 30

May 1, 2, 22, 23

June 4, 5, 6, 11, 12, 13, 18, 19, 20, 21, 25, 26, 27, 28, 29, 30

The Weeks Ahead.

April 16– NEW. Senate Appropriations Committee meets to consider Senate Bill 742 (Greenleaf-R-Montgomery) sexual assault survivors’ bill of rights (sponsor summary), Senate Bill 915 (Greenleaf-R-Montgomery) providing for post-conviction relief (sponsor summary); Senate Bill 916(Greenleaf-R-Montgomery) further providing for DNA testing (sponsor summary); Senate Bill 1070 (Greenleaf-R-Montgomery) establishing a County Adult Probation and Parole Advisory Committee (sponsor summary); Senate Bill 1071 (Greenleaf-R- Montgomery) streamlining the process for placement in State Intermediate Punishment, allowing parole agents to quickly detain parolees for violations, and streamlining the process for paroling people who receive a short sentence to prison  (sponsor summary); Senate Bill 1072 (Greenleaf-R-Montgomery) amends the Crime Victims Act to better provide information and compensation to victims (sponsor summary); Senate Bill 1090 (Corman-R- Centre) anti-hazing bill (sponsor summary).  Rules Room.  Off the Floor.

April 17– Time Change. House Judiciary Committee holds a hearing to discuss public/school safety/gun legislation. Room 140 Main Capitol. 9:30.  Committee meetings are typically webcast through the House Republican Caucus website.

April 18– NEW. House Judiciary Committee holds a hearing to discuss public/school safety/gun legislation. Room 140 Main Capitol. 9:30.  Committee meetings are typically webcast through the House Republican Caucus website.

April 20– House Transportation and Judiciary Committees joint hearing evaluating the effects of DUI and drugged driving laws and programs.  Pennsylvania Convention Center, 1101 Arch Street, Philadelphia.  10:30.  Committee meetings are typically webcast through the House Republican Caucus website.

April 24– NEW. House Labor and Industry Committee holds a hearing on harassment and sexual misconduct in the workplace.  Room 140 Main Capitol. 10:00.  Committee meetings are typically webcast through the House Republican Caucus website.

April 24– NEW. House Democratic Policy Committee hearing on gun violence and domestic abuse issues.  Northeast Baptist Church, 4744 Tackawanna Street, Philadelphia. 10:00.

April 25– NEW. House Democratic Policy Committee holds a hearing on House Bill 1243 (Sims-D-Philadelphia) providing for equal pay for women (sponsor summary). Kimmel Center, Hamilton Gardens, 1500 Walnut Street, Philadelphia. 10:00.

May 15– Pennsylvania Primary Election

May 15– Special House Elections to fill 3 House vacancies in Allegheny/Washington, Bradford/Potter/Tioga and Bucks counties to replace  Rep. Brandon Neuman (D-Washington)- District 48, Rep. Matt Baker (R-Tioga)-District 68 and Rep. Scott Petri (R-Bucks)- District 178 who all resigned to take other jobs.

Judge Temin appointed to Criminal Procedural Rules Committee.

Click for Order.

April 30 is deadline to apply for Appellate Court Procedural Rules Committee.

Click for information.

This Week in History

135065-004-8535F518Sacco and Vanzetti.  On April 15, 1920, a paymaster and guard for a shoe factory in South Braintree, Massachusetts, were robbed and killed.  Anarchists Bartolomeo Vanzetti (left) and Nicola Sacco (right) were charged, resulting in a protracted legal struggle and years of protest.  They were executed in 1927.

Click for more information.

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State Capitol Complex

House returns from Easter break to consider merit selection and guns.

The House returns from its Easter break Monday for two weeks of voting session to take on a variety of issues, including starting a debate on the merit selection of appellate state judges and setting work requirements for people on Medical Assistance and Food Stamps (SNAP).

They will also start working their way through a packed House Calendar and Committee schedule.

Also on the agenda is school safety and the state’s gun laws when the House Judiciary Committee holds the first three of now five public hearings on these issues.  Expect a lively discussion.

The House is expected to start debate on House Bill 111 (Cutler-R-Lancaster) amending the state constitution to provide for the merit selection– rather than election– of statewide appellate judges on the PA Supreme Court, PA Superior Court and Commonwealth Court.

Of course, constitutional amendments have to pass in two legislative sessions meaning, at the earliest, nothing could go to the voters until sometime in 2019, if things go well.

This would be the first time in a very long time, however, the issue was even debated in the General Assembly.

The last time this issue was before the voters was in 1969.

Session Schedule

April 16, 17, 18, 23, 24, 25, [Canceled- 30]

May [Canceled -1, 2] 21, 22, 23

June 4, 5, 6, 11, 12, 13, 18, 19, 20, 25, 26, 27, 28, 29

House

April 9, 10, 11, 16, 17, 18, 30

May 1, 2, 22, 23

June 4, 5, 6, 11, 12, 13, 18, 19, 20, 21, 25, 26, 27, 28, 29, 30

The Weeks Ahead

April 9– House Judiciary Committee holds a hearing to discuss public/school safety/gun legislation.  Room 140 Main Capitol. 11:00.  Committee meetings are typically webcast through the House Republican Caucus website.

April 10– House Judiciary Committee holds a hearing to discuss public/school safety/gun legislation.  Room 140 Main Capitol. 10:00.  Committee meetings are typically webcast through the House Republican Caucus website.

April 11– House Judiciary Committee holds a hearing to discuss public/school safety/gun legislation.  Room 140 Main Capitol. 10:00.  Committee meetings are typically webcast through the House Republican Caucus website.

April 16– NEW. House Judiciary Committee holds a hearing to discuss public/school safety/gun  legislation. Room 205 Ryan Building. 10:30.  Committee meetings are typically webcast through the House Republican Caucus website.

April 17– NEW. House Judiciary Committee holds a hearing to discuss public/school safety/gun legislation. Room 140 Main Capitol. 10:30.  Committee meetings are typically webcast through the House Republican Caucus website.

May 15– Pennsylvania Primary Election

May 15– Special House Elections to fill 3 House vacancies in Allegheny/Washington, Bradford/Potter/Tioga and Bucks counties to replace  Rep. Brandon Neuman (D-Washington)- District 48, Rep. Matt Baker (R-Tioga)-District 68 and Rep. Scott Petri (R-Bucks)- District 178 who all resigned to take other jobs.

On the Governor’s Desk

Domestic Violence: Senate Bill 449 (Bartolotta-R-Washington) related to probable cause arrests in domestic violence cases  (House Fiscal Note and summary) was reported from the Senate Rules Committee and concurred in by the Senate.  The bill now goes to the Governor for his action.

(The information above is from Crisci Associates PA Capitol Digest)

April 30 is deadline to apply for Appellate Court Procedural Rules Committee.

Click for information.

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April 12, 1945.  President Franklin D. Roosevelt dies.

stateCapital

In Re: Order Amending Public Access Policy of the UJS of PA; Case Records of Appellate & Trial Courts – No. 496 Judicial Administration Docket

Click for Order

Click for Case Records Public Access Policy

Click for Explanatory Report

Bills Moving

Senate

DUI Penalties: Senate Bill 961 (Rafferty-R-Montgomery) increasing penalties for homicide by vehicle involving a DUI was amended on the Senate Floor and remains on the Senate Calendar for action.

Parole Reform: Senate Bill 1070 (Greenleaf-R-Montgomery) establishing a County Adult Probation and Parole Advisory Committee (sponsor summary); Senate Bill 1071 (Greenleaf-R- Montgomery) streamlining the process for placement in State Intermediate Punishment, allowing parole agents to quickly detain parolees for violations, and streamlining the process for paroling people who receive a short sentence to prison  (sponsor summary); Senate Bill 1072 (Greenleaf-R-Montgomery) amends the Crime Victims Act to better provide information and compensation to victims (sponsor summary) were referred to the Senate Appropriations Committee.

Epinephrine Auto-Injectors: House Bill 126 (M.Baker-R- Tioga) further providing for authorized epinephrine auto-injector access was referred to the Senate Appropriations Committee.

Aggravated Assault: Senate Bill 357 (Tomlinson-R-Bucks) establishing the offense of aggravated assault by a person in custody (sponsor summary) was referred to the Senate Appropriations Committee.

Criminal Mental Health Treatment: Senate Bill 859 (Greenleaf-R- Montgomery) establishing the Criminal Justice and Mental Health Reinvestment Act (sponsor summary) was reported out of the Senate Judiciary Committee and are now on the Senate Calendar for action.

Criminal Addiction Treatment: Senate Bill 860 (Greenleaf-R-Montgomery) establishing the Criminal Justice and Addiction Treatment Act (sponsor summary) was reported out of the Senate Judiciary Committee and are now on the Senate Calendar for action.

Medication Abuse: Senate Bill 922 (Langerholc-R-Bedford) court assessments for nonnarcotic medication substance abuse treatment was amended and reported out of the Senate Judiciary Committee and are now on the Senate Calendar for action.

Anti-Hazing: Senate Bill 1090 (Corman-R-Centre) anti-hazing bill (sponsor summary) was reported out of the Senate Judiciary Committee and are now on the Senate Calendar for action.

(Source:  Crisci Associates PA Capitol Digest)

On the Governor’s Desk

Domestic Violence: Senate Bill 449 (Bartolotta-R-Washington) related to probable cause arrests in domestic violence cases  (House Fiscal Note and summary) was reported from the Senate Rules Committee and concurred in by the Senate.  The bill now goes to the Governor for his action.

(Source:  Crisci Associates PA Capitol Digest)

Session Schedule

Senate

April 16, 17, 18, 23, 24, 25, 30

May 1, 2, 21, 22, 23

June 4, 5, 6, 11, 12, 13, 18, 19, 20, 25, 26, 27, 28, 29

House

April 9, 10, 11, 16, 17, 18, 30

May 1, 2, 22, 23

June 4, 5, 6, 11, 12, 13, 18, 19, 20, 21, 25, 26, 27, 28, 29, 30

(Source:  Crisci Associates PA Capitol Digest)

The Weeks Ahead

April 6– NEW. House Democratic Policy Committee holds a hearing on House Bill 962 (Davis-D-Bucks) providing for the Safe Campuses Act (sponsor summary). Temple University, 1834 Liacouras

April 9– House Judiciary Committee holds a hearing to discuss public safety legislation.  Room 140 Main Capitol. 11:00.

April 10– House Judiciary Committee holds a hearing to discuss public safety legislation.  Room 140 Main Capitol. 10:00.

April 11– House Judiciary Committee holds a hearing to discuss public safety legislation.  Room 140 Main Capitol. 10:00.

April 12– House Judiciary Committee holds a hearing to discuss public safety legislation. Location/Time To Be Determined.

April 20– House Transportation and Judiciary Committees joint hearing evaluating the effects of DUI and drugged driving laws and programs.  Pennsylvania Convention Center, 1101 Arch Street, Philadelphia.  10:30.

May 15– Pennsylvania Primary Election

May 15– Special House Elections to fill two House vacancies in Allegheny/Washington and Bucks counties.  Rep. Brandon Neuman (D-Washington) and Rep. Scott Petri (R-Bucks) resigned December 31 to take other jobs.

(Source:  Crisci Associates PA Capitol Digest)

Criminal Justice Section Executive Committee meets April 4 at 12:30 p.m.

AGENDA

  1.  Organizing support for resolution around HB 1937 (Funding Court Appointments and Jenkins Law Library,
  2. Training sessions for new Rule 1900 regarding preservation of trial exhibits.
  3. Risk Assessment Tool Work, including meeting with State Representative Joanna McClinton,
  4. Planning session with State Senator Anthony Williams on proposed legislation regarding limiting sentences for technical violations of probation,
  5. Future CLEs.

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April 4, 1968.  Dr. Martin Luther King dies.

Pa. state Sen. Sharif Street has introduced a bill that would make people sentenced to life in prison eligible for parole after serving 15 years. (Emma Lee/WHYY)
Pa. state Sen. Sharif Street has introduced a bill that would make people sentenced to life in prison eligible for parole after serving 15 years. (Emma Lee/WHYY).

Being sentenced to life without the possibility of parole could be a thing of the past in Pennsylvania under a bill proposed by state Sen. Sharif Street.

Under Senate Bill 942, people sentenced to life in prison would be considered for parole after 15 years, although it would not guarantee the right to go free on parole. Street argues that would provides a path to redemption for people with criminal records, while saving the state money — something that could appeal to Republicans, who control the House and Senate.

“There are also fiscal conservatives who support this because they believe that the purpose of our criminal justice system is to keep people safe, to rehabilitate people, and that to incarcerate people beyond that point is an expensive luxury that we can no longer afford,” the Philadelphia Democrat said.

The bill was referred to the state’s Judiciary Committee in October, but has yet to be brought up for a vote. Street plans to promote the legislation, along with a companion bill in the General Assembly, at a rally in favor of changes to the state’s criminal justice system planned for Tuesday in Harrisburg.

According to the nonprofit Sentencing Project, there were more than 5,398 people serving life without parole in Pennsylvania in 2016. There were also 2,358 so-called virtual lifers, or those serving sentences of 50 years or more. As written, Street’s bill would not apply to those given lengthy sentences that fall short of life imprisonment. That could leave an opening for judges looking to circumvent the law.

Street said he would work with the Pennsylvania Board of Probation and Parole to figure out how it would be applied.

“I have asked the members of the parole board when they came before the Senate during hearings whether they believe this legislation as written could be implemented by the parole board, and received an affirmative response that they do believe it could be written,” he said.

harrisburg-capitol

 

Bills Moving

Senate

Nominations: Senate Committees favorably reported out the nominations of Teresa Miller for the Department of Human Services, Jennifer Smith for the Department of Drug & Alcohol Programs, Rachel Levine for the Department of Health and Jessica Altman as Insurance Commissioner and they were confirmed by the full Senate.

Domestic Violence: Senate Bill 449 (Bartolotta-R-Washington) related to probable cause arrests in domestic violence cases  (House Fiscal Note and summary) was reported from the Senate Rules Committee and concurred in by the Senate.  The bill now goes to the Governor for his action.

Protection From Abuse Orders:  Senate Bill 502 (McGarrigle-R-Delaware) further providing for protection from abuse orders from incarcerated individuals was amended and reported out of the Senate Judiciary Committee and passed by the Senate.  The bill now goes to the House for action.

Protection From Abuse: Senate Bill 500 (Vulakovich-R-Allegheny) further providing for commencement of proceedings in cases of protection from abuse was passed by the Senate and now goes to the House for action.

Protection From Abuse Orders: Senate Bill 501 (Killion-R-Delaware) further providing for protection from abuse orders was amended and reported out of the Senate Judiciary Committee, referred into and out of the Senate Appropriations Committee and was passed by the Senate.  A Senate Fiscal Note and summary is available. The bill now goes to the House for action.

Relocation Of Sexual Violence Victims: Senate Bill 919 (Haywood-D-Philadelphia) relating to relocation of sexual violence victims in public housing  was amended on the Senate Floor,  referred into and out of the Senate Appropriations Committee and was passed by the Senate.  A Senate Fiscal Note and summary is available.  The bill now goes to the House for action.

Victims’ Rights: Senate Bill 1011 (Reschenthaler-R-Allegheny) amends the state constitution to grant victims of crimes inherent rights was reported out of the Senate Appropriations Committee, amended on the Senate Floor and passed by the Senate.  The bill now goes to the House for action.

Sexual Offenders: House Bill 1952 (Marsico-R- Dauphin) further providing for the registration of sexual offenders (House Fiscal Note and summary) was reported out of the Senate Appropriations Committee and is now on the Senate Calendar for action.

Post-Conviction Relief: Senate Bill 915 (Greenleaf-R-Montgomery) providing for post-conviction relief (sponsor summary) was reported out of the Senate Judiciary Committee and referred to the Senate Appropriations Committee.

DNA Testing: Senate Bill 916 (Greenleaf-R-Montgomery) further providing for DNA testing (sponsor summary) was reported out of the Senate Judiciary Committee and referred to the Senate Appropriations Committee.

Epinephrine Auto-Injector Access: House Bill 126 (M.Baker-R-Tioga) further providing for authorized epinephrine auto-injector access was removed from the Table and is now on the Senate Calendar for action.

Aggravated Assault: Senate Bill 357 (Tomlinson-R-Bucks) establishing the offense of aggravated assault by a person in custody (sponsor summary) was reported out of the Senate Judiciary Committee and is now on the Senate Calendar for action.

County Advisory Probation Committee: Senate Bill 1070 (Greenleaf-R-Montgomery) establishing a County Adult Probation and Parole Advisory Committee (sponsor summary) was amended and reported out of the Senate Judiciary Committee and is now on the Senate Calendar for action.

Streamlining Parole Process: Senate Bill 1071 (Greenleaf-R-Montgomery) streamlining the process for placement in State Intermediate Punishment, allowing parole agents to quickly detain parolees for violations, and streamlining the process for paroling people who receive a short sentence to prison  (sponsor summary) was amended and reported out of the Senate Judiciary Committee and is now on the Senate Calendar for action.

Crime Victims: Senate Bill 1072 (Greenleaf-R-Montgomery) amends the Crime Victims Act to better provide information and compensation to victims (sponsor summary) was reported out of the Senate Judiciary Committee and is now on the Senate Calendar for action.

Cameras In Courts: House Bill 149 (Knowles-R-Schuylkill) relating to the use of cell phone and other cameras in courtrooms (House Fiscal Note and summary) was reported out of the Senate Judiciary Committee and is now on the Senate Calendar for action.

Expungement: Senate Bill 938 (Sabatina-D-Philadelphia) relating to expungement of child protective services records (sponsor summary) was Tabled pursuant to Senate Rule 9.

Session Schedule

Senate

March 26, 27, 28

April 16, 17, 18, 23, 24, 25, 30

May 1, 2, 21, 22, 23

June 4, 5, 6, 11, 12, 13, 18, 19, 20, 25, 26, 27, 28, 29

House

April 9, 10, 11, 16, 17, 18, 30

May 1, 2, 22, 23

June 4, 5, 6, 11, 12, 13, 18, 19, 20, 21, 25, 26, 27, 28, 29, 30

The Weeks Ahead

March 26– Senate Judiciary Committee and Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Public Safety and Criminal Justice hold a joint hearing to discuss criminal justice issues.  Hearing Room 1, North Office Building. 9:30.

March 27– NEW. Senate Judiciary Committee meets to consider Senate Bill 859 (Greenleaf-R- Montgomery) establishing the Criminal Justice and Mental Health Reinvestment Act (sponsor summary), Senate Bill 860 (Greenleaf-R-Montgomery) establishing the Criminal Justice and Addiction Treatment Act (sponsor summary),  Senate Bill 884 (Greenleaf-R-Montgomery) relating to guardianship and decedents’ estates laws (sponsor summary), Senate Bill 922 (Langerholc-R-Bedford) court assessments for nonnarcotic medication substance abuse treatment (sponsor summary), Senate Bill 1043 (Greenleaf-R-Montgomery) relating to the use of criminal records by employers (sponsor summary), Senate Bill 1090 (Corman-R-Centre) anti-hazing bill (sponsor summary); House Bill 56 (Watson-R-Bucks) relating to adoption counseling services (House Fiscal Note and summary), House Bill 58 (Petri-R-Bucks) adoption revocation of consent (House Fiscal Note and summary), House Bill 61 (Lewis-R-Chester) consent to adoption by an incarcerated parent (House Fiscal Note and summary), House Bill 62 (D.Miller-D-Allegheny) elimination of hearings to confirm consent to adoption (House Fiscal Note and summary), House Bill 63 (D.Miller-D-Allegheny) change to the definition of intermediary related to adoption (House Fiscal Note and summary), House Bill 289 (Toohil-R- Luzerne) reimbursement of living expenses of birth mother in adoption process (House Fiscal Note and summary).  Room 8E-B East Wing.  11:30.

March 28– NEW. House Democratic Policy Committee holds a hearing on House Bill 1197 (Costa-D-Allegheny) adding animal fighting to provisions enforceable under the state’s racketeering provisions (sponsor summary). Ross Municipal Center, 1000 Ross Municipal Drive, Pittsburgh.  3:00.

April 3– House Transportation Committee holds a hearing on House Bill 1684 (R.Brown-R-Monroe) prohibiting calls on hand-held mobile telephones (sponsor summary).  Room 140 Main Capitol.  1:30.

April 9– House Judiciary Committee holds a hearing to discuss public safety legislation.  Room 140 Main Capitol. 11:00.

April 10– House Judiciary Committee holds a hearing to discuss public safety legislation.  Room 140 Main Capitol. 10:00.

April 11– House Judiciary Committee holds a hearing to discuss public safety legislation.  Room 140 Main Capitol. 10:00.

April 12– House Judiciary Committee holds a hearing to discuss public safety legislation. Location/Time To Be Determined.

April 20– House Transportation and Judiciary Committees joint hearing evaluating the effects of DUI and drugged driving laws and programs.  Pennsylvania Convention Center, 1101 Arch Street, Philadelphia.  10:30.

May 15– Pennsylvania Primary Election

May 15– Special House Elections to fill two House vacancies in Allegheny/Washington and Bucks counties.  Rep. Brandon Neuman (D-Washington) and Rep. Scott Petri (R-Bucks) resigned December 31 to take other jobs.

(Source:  Crisci Associates PA Capitol Digest).

In The News.

May 18 is deadline to comment on proposed changes to Rule 490 (expungement in summary cases).  Click for Notice of Rule Making and text of proposed change.

Washington Post Op-Ed:  Bad science puts people in jail — and keeps them there.

The Marshall Report writes about Philadelphia’s conviction integrity unit.

WITF:  Senate passes raft of crime bills including tighter gun law.

City and State:  7 domestic violence bills advance in Senate.

Governor nominates Robert Evanchick for Commissioner of State Police.

William McSwain confirmed as U.S. Attorney for  Eastern District.

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March 30, 1870.  15th Amendment adopted (voting rights).

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House Judiciary Committee moves Clean Slate bill to full House

The House Judiciary Committee Tuesday amended and reported out House Bill 1419 (Delozier-R-Cumberland) which outlines a process for sealing the records of people who commit low level, non-violent misdemeanors.

“Millions of Pennsylvanians have criminal records and many of those people have only committed minor offenses, such as misdemeanors or arrests without a conviction.  Even having a minor criminal record can be devastating and make it very difficult for those individuals to ever become productive members of our communities,” said Rep. Ron Marsico (R-Dauphin), Majority Chair of the Committee.  “This legislation gives those individuals another chance.”

House Bill 1419 builds on Act 5 of 2016, which established a process by which a court, on petition, may grant an order limiting public access to certain criminal history records if the petitioner has been free from subsequent arrest, prosecution or conviction for a period of at least 10 years.

The bill would seal the records of those who have non-violent misdemeanor convictions after they have remained crime-free for at least 10 years. It would also seal all non-conviction records.

The legislation includes language to provide liability immunity to employers, as well as exemptions for certain industries where the proposed legislation would conflict with federal requirements. Juveniles are not included in this legislation.

The bill now goes to the full House for consideration.

(From Crisci Associates PA Capitol Digest)

Bills Moving

Domestic Violence: Senate Bill 449 (Bartolotta-R-Washington) providing further protections for victims of domestic violence was reported from the House Appropriations Committee and was passed without amendment. (House Fiscal Note and summary.)  The bill now goes to the Governor for his action.

Driver’s License Suspension: House Resolution 76 (D.Miller-D-Allegheny) urging Congress to eliminate suspension or revocation of driver’s licenses for conviction of drug offense (sponsor summary) was reported from the House Transportation Committee and is now on the House Calendar for action.

(From Crisci Associates PA Capitol Digest)

The Weeks Ahead

March 19– NEW. Senate Appropriations Committee meets to consider Senate Bill 1011 (Reschenthaler-R-Allegheny) amends the state constitution to grant victims of crimes inherent rights (sponsor summary), House Bill 1952 (Marsico-R-Dauphin) further providing for the registration of sexual offenders (House Fiscal Note and summary).  Rules Room.  Off the Floor.

March 19– Senate Health and Human Services Committee holds a hearing to consider the nominations of Teresa Miller for the Department of Human Services, Jennifer Smith for the Department of Drug & Alcohol Programs and Rachel Levine for the Department of Health.  Room 8E-B East Wing. 10:30.

March 19– Senate Judiciary Committee and Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Public Safety and Criminal Justice hold a joint hearing to discuss criminal justice issues.  Hearing Room 1, North Office Building. 9:30.

March 26– Senate Judiciary Committee and Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Public Safety and Criminal Justice hold a joint hearing to discuss criminal justice issues.  Hearing Room 1, North Office Building. 9:30.

April 9– House Judiciary Committee holds a hearing to discuss public safety legislation.  Room 140 Main Capitol. 11:00.

April 10– House Judiciary Committee holds a hearing to discuss public safety legislation.  Room 140 Main Capitol. 10:00.

April 11– House Judiciary Committee holds a hearing to discuss public safety legislation.  Room 140 Main Capitol. 10:00.

April 12– House Judiciary Committee holds a hearing to discuss public safety legislation. Location/Time To Be Determined.

April 20– NEW. House Transportation and Judiciary Committees joint hearing evaluating the effects of DUI and drugged driving laws and programs.  Pennsylvania Convention Center, 1101 Arch Street, Philadelphia.  10:30.

May 15– Pennsylvania Primary Election

May 15– Special House Elections to fill two House vacancies in Allegheny/Washington and Bucks counties.  Rep. Brandon Neuman (D-Washington) and Rep. Scott Petri (R-Bucks) resigned December 31 to take other jobs.

(From Crisci Associates PA Capitol Digest)

Legislative Sessions

Senate

March 19, 20, 21, 26, 27, 28

April 16, 17, 18, 23, 24, 25, 30

May 1, 2, 21, 22, 23

June 4, 5, 6, 11, 12, 13, 18, 19, 20, 25, 26, 27, 28, 29

House

April 9, 10, 11, 16, 17, 18, 30

May 1, 2, 22, 23

June 4, 5, 6, 11, 12, 13, 18, 19, 20, 21, 25, 26, 27, 28, 29, 30

(From Crisci Associates PA Capitol Digest)

Senator Stewart Greenleaf’s Mini Hearings on Criminal Justice Issues

Monday, March 19, 2018 (1st Mini Hearing 9:30am to 1:00pm in NOB Hearing Room #1)

• Senate Bills 522 and 523: Consolidates the Department of Corrections and the Board of Probation and Parole into a single agency. Creates greater efficiency and communication where the agencies’ functions overlap. Permits better coordination to achieve positive outcomes for offenders.
Status: Passed the Senate on May 24, 2017. Referred to the House Judiciary Committee. *This initiative was recently (Oct. 19th) accomplished administratively via a Memorandum of Understanding between the two agencies.

• Senate Bill 59: Prison Industry Enhancement. Allows the Department of Corrections and county prisons to join a federal program in which they partner with private industry to employ prison inmates. Provides “real world” job skills and instills the habit of going to work, while providing “real world” wages that will pay for restitution to crime victims and support for family members of the inmate.
Status: Reported out of the Senate Judiciary Committee. Currently tabled in the Senate.

• Senate Bill 1134 of Last Session: DNA Testing for Conviction Integrity. Expands the use of DNA testing for the exoneration of offenders who claim to be innocent of the offense for which they were incarcerated.
Status: In the process of being drafted and reintroduced this session as SB 916.

• Senate Bill 1261 of Last Session: Post-Conviction Relief Act Amendments. Expands the time period for a convicted offender to file a petition in court for post-conviction relief.
Status: In the process of being drafted and reintroduced this session as SB 915.

• Senate Bill 1274 of Last Session: Provides for compensation to people who establish that they were wrongfully convicted and incarcerated.
Status: In the process of being redrafted for reintroduction.

• Brady Violations: Ensures that prosecutors hand over all pertinent discovery material to the defense.
Status: In the process of developing legislation.

• Justice Reinvestment Initiative Phase 2: Senator Greenleaf participated in the working group of the Justice Reinvestment Initiative and will introduce legislation to implement the group’s work, especially with regard to support for adult county probation departments.
Status: In the process of being drafted for introduction (circulated co-sponsor memo).

• Cap on County Probation: This legislation limits the period of confinement for probation violations to six months as the General Assembly did with regard to state parole violations.
Status: In the process of being drafted for introduction (circulated co-sponsor memo).

• Senate Bill 859: Criminal Justice and Mental Health Reinvestment Act. Establishes a grant program to assist counties in diverting from the criminal justice system individuals with mental health problems.
Status: Referred to the Senate Judiciary Committee.

• Grand Jury Reforms: Legislation will be introduced to address the secrecy of grand juries, the role of the supervising judge, the rights of witnesses, and the rights of the person being investigated.
Status: In the process of developing legislation.

Monday, March 26, 2018 (2nd Mini Hearing 9:30am to 1:00pm in NOB Hearing Room #1)

• Senate Bill 61: Criminal defense for the indigent. Creates a training center for public defenders and other attorneys who defend the indigent in criminal proceedings. Pennsylvania is the only state in the nation that provides no direct funding for indigent criminal defense.
Status: Referred to the Senate Judiciary Committee.

• Senate Bill 62: Implements findings of a Joint State Government Commission study of the effects of parental incarceration on children. Addresses the standard for termination of parental rights when a parent is incarcerated and the training police receive regarding how to treat children during the arrest of a parent.
Status: Reported out of the Senate Judiciary Committee. Currently tabled in the Senate.

• Senate Bill 554: Creates a Safe Harbor for human trafficking victims so that these children will not be prosecuted for prostitution and related offenses. Recognizes that these children are victims of physical and psychological abuse, not perpetrators of crime.
Status: Passed the Senate on April 25, 2017. Referred to the House Judiciary Committee.

• Senate Bill 742: Sexual Assault Survivors’ Bill of Rights. Creates a right for sexual assault victims to have a forensic medical examination performed free of charge and to have evidence preserved until the maximum applicable statute of limitations expires.
Status: Reported out of the Senate Judiciary Committee. Currently awaiting consideration in the Senate Appropriations Committee.

• Senate Bill 855: Requires notifications to defendants about the collateral consequences of pleading guilty or being convicted by a jury. Provides a mechanism by which offender may receive a “certificate of rehabilitation” to present to employers and landlords.
Status: Referred to the Senate Judiciary Committee.

• Senate Bill 1043: Use of Criminal Records in Employment. Provides current employees with same protections that job applicants currently enjoy. Bars use of past criminal convictions in employment decisions unless conviction relates to specific responsibilities of the position.
Status: Awaiting referral to committee.

• Senate Bill 1036: Criminal Justice Debt: Fines & Fees and the Indigent. This legislation will help to ensure that offenders will not be incarcerated solely because they could not pay fines and fees imposed on them.
Status: Awaiting referral to committee.

• Senate Bill 860: Criminal Justice and Addiction Treatment Act. Requires a comprehensive pre-release plan for addicted offenders in prison. Requires training of law enforcement officers who encounter addicted persons. Requires insurers to provide coverage for screening and treatment referrals for addiction.
Status: Referred to the Senate Judiciary Committee.

• Diversion from Arrest for Those with Addiction or Mental Illness: As part of the reform of our state’s bail practices, Senator Greenleaf will introduce legislation to require assessments at various points in the criminal justice system to determine whether a person should be diverted to treatment.
Status: In the process of developing legislation.

Representative Joanna McClinton to address Criminal Justice Section on March 22 at noon

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Representative McClinton will discuss recent criminal justice legislation being proposed including Clean Slate. She will also talk about the Pennsylvania Sentencing Commission including the status of a possible risk assessment tool for use at sentencing.  Ms. McClinton is a Democrat representing the 191st District in West Philadelphia.

Ms. McClinton graduated from LaSalle University and Villanova University School of Law.  Her previous employment included serving as an Assistant Defender and counsel to State Senator Anthony Hardy Williams.

 

Britain imposes Stamp Act on American colonies.

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March 22, 1765.   Click for details.

0307-1296683035

 

House Judiciary Committee schedules four hearings on gun safety and reform.

The House Judiciary Committee has scheduled four hearings in April to explore legislation to help stem gun violence and mass shootings is scheduled next month, PA SAFE Caucus leaders announced Wednesday.

“It has become acutely apparent that measures need to be taken to prevent these situations from happening in the future,” said Rep. Ron Marsico (R-Dauphin), Majority Chair of the Committee, in a letter inviting members to the hearings.

The announcement follows a statewide push by the PA SAFE Caucus to funnel Pennsylvanians’ calls for reform to state Capitol leadership in the wake of mass shootings across the country.

“This is one of the most important safety issues we face, and I am pleased that the Judiciary chair has recognized the need to address gun violence,” said PA SAFE Caucus Co-chairwoman Rep. Madeleine Dean (D-Montgomery). “The students in Parkland are leading the fight for real reforms; it is now up to us to listen and make sure these hearings lead to meaningful passage of legislation that will save lives.”

“We look forward to a robust, honest and fair discussion about the specific actions we will take to turn the tide against gun violence and deliver on our promise as elected officials to keep Pennsylvanians safe,” said PA SAFE Caucus Co-chairman Rep. Dan Frankel (D-Allegheny).

The hearings will be held April 9, 10, 11 and 12.

For more information, visit the PA SAFE Caucus webpage.

From Crisci Associates PA Capitol Digest

Assault weapons ban to be part of House open committee meetings.

By Stephen Caruso, City and State, March 7, 2018.  Click for full report.

As public polling for an assault weapons ban sits at 2-1 in favor, two bills on the controversial class of firearm could be topics of conversation at open House Judiciary Committee meetings planned for early April.

The most recent of the bills on the topic, Rep. Curtis Thomas’ (D-Philadelphia) HB 2120 to add age restrictions for assault weapons sales, was introduced on March 2. It would ban the sale or transfer of assault weapons to anyone under the age of 21.

Listing a litany of weapon producers and designs, including semi-automatic weapons with foldable stocks, flash suppressors or bayonet mounts, Thomas said the bill was designed to cut down the accessibility of the weapons to young people.

“We should not be able to sell AR-15s and assault weapons to kids,” Thomas said. “That should be left for adults.”

Currently, 18 is the minimum age to purchase any firearm in Pennsylvania.

Thomas’ is not the only bill currently introduced on assault weapons in the House. In January 2017, Rep. Ed Gainey (D-Allegheny) introduced his own bill – HB 194.

The bill, which has over 20 Democratic co-sponsors, including Thomas, would outright ban the sale or possession of any new assault weapons except for military or law enforcement members. The bill grandfathers private citizens who currently possess one of the mentioned firearms.

To Jeff Dempsey, program director at the anti-gun violence advocacy group CeaseFire Pa, the two bills are indicative of a rising trend of awareness and support for action on guns.

“There’s a public awakening to talk about this,” he said.

According to a Quinnipiac University poll from February, Americans support stricter gun control laws, 66 percent to 31 percent. The poll found a similar split in support for an assault weapons ban.

Thomas’s and Gainey’s bills were both referred to the House Judiciary Committee, chaired by Rep. Ron Marsico (R-Dauphin).

In a release Tuesday, the veteran House lawmaker said he planned to hold open committee meetings for any House member to come and opine on public safety legislation like an assault weapons ban.

“This topic is too important to exclude any member’s point of view, and I would hope all of the members of the House will be able to participate,” Marsico said in the release. “We are looking at this as a way to build bipartisan consensus for an effective legislative strategy to keep Pennsylvania students and residents safe.”

Stephen Caruso is a staff writer for The PLS Reporter, a Harrisburg-based nonpartisan news website devoted to covering Pennsylvania government and politics.

Session Schedule

Senate

March 19, 20, 21, 26, 27, 28

April 16, 17, 18, 23, 24, 25, 30

May 1, 2, 21, 22, 23

June 4, 5, 6, 11, 12, 13, 18, 19, 20, 25, 26, 27, 28, 29

House

March 12, 13, 14

April 9, 10, 11, 16, 17, 18, 30

May 1, 2, 22, 23

June 4, 5, 6, 11, 12, 13, 18, 19, 20, 21, 25, 26, 27, 28, 29, 30

(Source:  Crisci Associates PA Capitol Digest)

The Weeks Ahead

March 13– Special Election to fill Congressman Murphy’s seat in Western PA.

March 14– NEW. House Professional Licensure Committee meets to consider House Bill 1343 (Readshaw-D-Allegheny) amending the Bureau of Professional and Occupations Affairs Act related to carryover of continuing education credits (sponsor summary). Room G-50 Irvis Building. 9:30.

March 19– NEW. Senate Judiciary Committee and Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Public Safety and Criminal Justice hold a joint hearing to discuss criminal justice issues.  Hearing Room 1, North Office Building. 9:30.

March 26– NEW. Senate Judiciary Committee and Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Public Safety and Criminal Justice hold a joint hearing to discuss criminal justice issues.  Hearing Room 1, North Office Building. 9:30.

April 9– NEW. House Judiciary Committee holds a hearing to discuss public safety legislation.  Room 140 Main Capitol. 11:00.

April 10– NEW. House Judiciary Committee holds a hearing to discuss public safety legislation. Room 140 Main Capitol. 10:00.

April 11– NEW. House Judiciary Committee holds a hearing to discuss public safety legislation.  Room 140 Main Capitol. 10:00.

April 12– NEW. House Judiciary Committee holds a hearing to discuss public safety legislation.  Location/Time To Be Determined.

May 15– Pennsylvania Primary Election

May 15– Special House Elections to fill two House vacancies in Allegheny/Washington and Bucks counties.  Rep. Brandon Neuman (D-Washington) and Rep. Scott Petri (R-Bucks) resigned December 31 to take other jobs.

(Source:  Crisci Associates PA Capitol Digest)

SENATOR STEWART GREENLEAF’S MINI HEARINGS ON CRIMINAL JUSTICE INITIATIVES SET FOR MARCH 19 AND MARCH 26

Click for Schedule

Criminal Justice Section Executive Committee meets March 14, 12:30 p.m., 10th Floor Board Room, 1101 Market Street. 

 

Beware the Ides of March.

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Julius Caesar died in 44 B.C.

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