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

PaCapitolMay 30 is deadline to comment on proposed new rule on Restitution and revisions on rules on sentencing procedures

The Criminal Procedural Rules Committee is considering recommending that the Supreme Court of Pennsylvania adopt new Rule 705.1 (Restitution), amend Rule 454 (Trial in Summary Cases), and revise the Comments to Rules 455 (Trial in Defendant’s Absence) and 704 (Procedure at Time of Sentencing) to standardize the procedures by which restitution is awarded in criminal cases.  This proposal has not been submitted for review by the Supreme Court of Pennsylvania.  Deadline for submission of comments is May 30.

Click for Report

Session schedule

The House and Senate return to session on April 28.

One child abuse bill signed by Governor, four others await his signature

Child Abuse Reporting:  Senate Bill 24 (Vulakovich-R-Beaver) providing for child abuse reporting was signed into law by the Governor as Act 29.  See House Fiscal Note.

The following bills await signature by the Governor:

Child Abuse: Senate Bill 33 (Mensch-R-Lehigh) further providing for persons required to report suspected child abuse.  A summary and House Fiscal Note are available.

Child Protection Training: House Bill 431 (Gingrich-R-Lebanon)  further providing for child protection education and training.  A summary and House Fiscal Note are available.

Child Abuse Reporting: House Bill 436 (Stephens-R-Montgomery) further providing for the reporting of suspected child abuse.  A summary and House Fiscal Note are available.

Child Abuse Reporting: Senate Bill 21 (Ward-R-Westmoreland) further providing for child abuse reporting.  A summary and House Fiscal Note are available.

Bills moving


Lawyer Criminal Checks: Senate Bill 894 (Alloway-R-Franklin) requiring criminal background checks for lawyers was reported out of the House Judiciary Committee and is now on the House Calendar for action. Click for Memorandum by sponsor.


Wireless Device Location: Senate Bill 1290 (Vulakovich-R-Beaver) requiring the disclosure of wireless device location information was passed by the Senate and now goes to the House for consideration.

The bill would require wireless providers to “ping” the cell phone of a missing person at the request of law enforcement officials when there is sufficient information to believe there is a risk or threat of death or serious physical harm.

The measure, also known as the “Kelsey Smith Act,” is named after an 18-year old Kansas woman who was abducted, sexually assaulted and murdered in 2007.  The tragedy resulted in a movement by her parents to ensure that law enforcement authorities can receive assistance from cell phone providers to help find missing persons.

Indigent Legal Defense: Senate Bill 979 (Greenleaf-R- Montgomery) establishing the PA Center for Effective Indigent Defense Legal Representation was amended and reported out of the Senate Judiciary Committee and is now on the Senate Calendar for action.

Juvenile Justice: Senate Resolution 304 (Greenleaf-R-Montgomery) directing the Joint State Government Commission to establish an advisory committee to study the Juvenile Act and related issues- sponsor summary— was reported from the Senate Judiciary Committee and is now on the Senate Calendar for action.

Public hearings

April 24– Senate Judiciary Committee holds a hearing on Senate Bill 1095 (Farnese-D- Philadelphia) amending the anti-SLAPP lawsuit provisions– sponsor summary.  Philadelphia Bar Association Office, 1101 Market-Frankford Line, Philadelphia.  9:30.

May 5– House Judiciary Committee holds a hearing on a presentation on the Restitution Task Force.  Room 205

Source for legislative information:  Crisci Associates’ PA Capitol Digest



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