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


Session Schedule

The House and Senate meet Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday.

On the Governor’s Desk

Judicial Retirement: House Bill 79 (Harper-R-Montgomery) passed the Senate and was sent to the Governor.  This bill would amend the Constitution to raise the age of mandatory retirement for judges from 70 to 75.  A summary and House Fiscal Note are available.   If the Governor signs the bill, it would have to pass the next General Assembly before being submitted to the voters for approval.   A summary and House Fiscal Note are available.

Bills Moving


Reporting Child Deaths: House Bill 20 (Simmons-R-Lehigh) further prohibiting the concealing the death of a child– summary— was reported from the House Appropriations Committee and passed by the House. A summary and House Fiscal Note are available.  The bill now goes to the Senate for consideration.

911 Information: House Bill 1041 (Hackett-R- Delaware) prohibiting the release of certain 911 call information was reported from the House Appropriations Committee and passed by the House.  A summary and House Fiscal Note are available.  The bill now goes to the Senate for consideration.  NewsClip: House Votes To Ban Release Of Some 911 Details


Criminal Records: Senate Bill 391 (Solobay-D-Washington) further providing for the expungement of criminal record history was passed by the Senate and now goes to the House for consideration.  A summary and Senate Fiscal Note are available.  The bill provides for expungement of some misdemeanors, but excludes expungement for gun and sex crimes.

Child Protection:

Senate Bill 24 (Vulakovich-R- Allegheny) was amended and passed the Senate.  The bill  will require the Department of Public Welfare to establish a secure, statewide database to include reports of child abuse and children in need of protective services.  See Senate Fiscal Note.

Senate Bill 29 (Vance-R-Cumberland) mandating the reporting of certain newborns was amended and passed the Senate.  See Senate Fiscal Note.  The bill will require healthcare providers to immediately report if a newborn is identified as being affected by prenatal exposure to illegal substances. Upon receipt of the report, the county agency shall perform an assessment and determine whether child protective services or general protective services are warranted.

Senate Bill 1116 (Washington-D-Philadelphia) further providing for child protection investigations and reports (amended, Senate Fiscal Note) were reported from the Senate Appropriations Committee and were passed by the Senate.  The bill will provide for multidisciplinary investigative teams to coordinate child-abuse investigations between county agencies and law enforcement.  The county agency and district attorney will develop a protocol for convening the multidisciplinary investigative teams, which have proven successful in the parts of Pennsylvania where they are already used.

Senate Bill 28 (Browne-R-Lehigh) relating to intimidation or retaliation in child abuse cases was amended on the Floor and passed by the Senate.

— Senate Bill 28 (Browne-R-Lehigh)  was amended and passed the Senate.  will lower the age of a perpetrator for simple assault from 21 to 18 .  See Senate Fiscal Note. This bill also expands the definition of aggravated assault to include:

— Causing bodily injury to a child under the age of 6 (second-degree felony); and

— Causing serious bodily injury to a child under the age of 13 (first-degree felony).

Senate Bill 31 (Fontana-D-Allegheny) further requiring the reporting of child abuse was passed by the Senate.  Lawyers are omitted from the list of mandated reporters.  This bill will close a loophole. Currently, the law provides that if there is a case of suspected child abuse in which the alleged perpetrator is a school employee, there is no requirement to report that abuse unless it rises to the level of a “serious bodily injury.” The bill would amend the Child Protective Services Law to eliminate what is now a separate system for reporting abuse by school employees.

The bills now go to the House for consideration.

Arson Penalties: Senate Bill 1024 (Rafferty-R-Montgomery) increasing the penalties for arson– summary— was passed by the Senate and now goes to the House for action. NewsClip: Senate OKs Stiffer Arson Penalties

Bills Introduced

Pro Bono Legal Work: House Resolution 107 (Dean-D-Montgomery) urging the PA Supreme Court to require pro bono legal service as a condition of admission to the Pennsylvania Bar– summary.

Criminal Justice Review: Senate Resolution 238 (Kitchen-D-Philadelphia) directing the Joint State Government Commission to establish an advisory committee to conduct a study on the inefficiencies of the criminal justice system– summary.

Committee Meetings

October 22– House Judiciary Committee meets to consider House Bill 714 (Baker-R-Tioga) further providing for the offense of identity theft.  Click for  summary.  Room 205 Ryan Building.  10:00.

October 22– Senate Judiciary Committee meets to consider House Bill 764 (Watson-R- Bucks) further providing for damages in actions for online impersonation.  Click for summary and House Fiscal Note.  Room 8E-B East Wing. 11:30.

October 29– Senate Judiciary Committee holds a hearing on legal representation of the indigent.  Koppers Building, 436 7th Ave, 9th Floor, Grant Room, Pittsburgh. 1:00.

November 12– House Judiciary Committee holds a hearing on Senate Bill 150 (Pileggi-R-Delaware) further providing for the collection and use of DNA.  Room 140. 10:00.

Source:  Crisci Associates, PA Capitol Digest


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