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Legislative Priorities

The Office of Victim Advocate has an interest and is tracking the following major legislative items that impact our work with crime victims.

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​Marsy's Law

Passes onto the voter ballot in November.

  • SB 149 (Sabatina), HB 276 (Delozier): Joint resolution amending the Constitution providing enforceable rights for crime victims in a more equitable way.

​Justice Reinvestment Initiative and Supporting Victims

  • SB 500 (Baker): Amends PCCD law around probation supports and services.
  • SB 501 (Killion): Amends Titles 42 and 61, makes improvements to parole supervision.
  • SB 502 (Bartolotta): Amends the Crime Victim Act with the goal of serving more crime victims more effectively.  Notable improvements include the following: (1) Requires police officers to provide written notice of victims services information at the scene (2) Increases coverage for crime victim compensation (3) requires prosecutors to notify Victim Advocate in personal crime injury cases so parole notifications can be facilitated (4) provides technical changes to the act to reflect the independence of the Office of Victim Advocate (5) merges current funds into a singular Crime Victim Services and Compensation Fund.

​Statute of Limitations Reform

  • ​HB 962: Amends Title 42, in cases of sexual abuse against a minor, this bill intends to abolish the criminal statute of limitations while increasing the civil statute of limitations cap to age 50.
  • HB 963 (Gregory): Proposing an amendment to the Constitution of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, further providing for courts to be open and suits against the Commonwealth.
  • SB 540 (Muth): Amends Title 42, the intent of this bill is to eliminate the criminal and civil statutes of limitations for childhood sexual abuse claims.  In addition, this would create a two-year retroactive provision allowing someone who has been previously time-barred to file claim against their alleged abuser. 

​Probation and Parole Reform

  • ​SB 123 (Sabatina): Amends Title 61, extending the parole application period for Sexually Violent Predators from 1 to 3 years. Karen's Law
  • SB 715 (Browne): Amends the Crime Victims Act to provide OVA independence in decision-making functions and allows for offenders' fees to become a part of supervision conditions on the day prior to the effective date or while under the supervision of the DOC. Effective in one year.
  • SB 714 (Browne): Amends Titles 42 (Judiciary and Judicial Procedure) and 61 (Prisons and Parole) to essentially merge the authority of DOC and field parole staff to create the Department of Criminal Justice. The language allows for the decision making portion of the parole board to be separate. Effective in one year.

​Intimate Partner Violence

  • ​SB 196 (Hughes): Amends Title 23, PFA Act to allow for the use of an "electronic monitoring device" on a defendant if it is found that they present a substantial risk of violating a final order or committing a crime against the victim.
  • SB 312 (Boscola): Amends Title 42, in sentencing, providing for sentencing for offenses involving violation of protection orders or consent agreements.
  • SB 125 (Boscola): Amends a Title 23, in protection from abuse, further providing for relief.
  • HB 824 (Conklin) Amends a Title 23, in protection from abuse, further providing for relief.
  • HB 489 (Boback): Amends Title 23 (Domestic Relations), in protection from abuse, providing for waiver of fee for corrected or duplicate State documents.
  • HB 1632 (Hills-Evans): Amends Title 23, providing for relief and cancelations of telephone contracts for domestic violence victims.
  • SB 511 (Boscola) Amends Title 42 (Judiciary), providing for registration of domestic violence predators; establishing the Domestic Violence Predator Assessment Board; & imposing powers & duties on the State Police & on the Board of Probation & Parole.
  • HB 661 (Murt) Amends Title 42 (Judiciary), in sentencing, providing for global positioning system device to be worn by certain offenders. (stalking cases)

​Crime Victims Enhancements

  • ​SB 425 (Langerholc): Amends Crime Victims Act, further providing for right to prohibit victim sequestration. (HB 502 – Hershey)
  • HB 502 (Hershey): Amends the Crime Victims Act, in crime victims, further providing for rights. (right to be in court room)
  • HB 504 (Mihalek): Amends Title 18 (Crimes and Offenses), in sexual offenses, further providing for evidence of victim's sexual conduct.
  • SB 303 (Ward): Amends the Crime Victims Act, in crime victims, providing for responsibilities of State and local law enforcement agencies and providing for responsibilities of medical personnel; and, in persons eligible for compensation and for awards.

​Sextortion

  • ​SB 337 (Schwank): Amending Title 18, criminalizing acts of sextortion and establish grading/sentencing that would improve Pennsylvania's ability to hold offenders accountable.

​Tender Years and Intellectual Disability Witness and Victim Protections

  • ​SB 469 (Laughlin): Amends Title 42 (Judiciary), in depositions and witnesses, providing for procedures to protect victims and witnesses with intellectual disabilities.

​Human Trafficking

  • ​HB 12 (Groves): Amends Title 18, to protect child victims of human trafficking from being prosecuted for crimes they were forced to commit. "Buyer's Beware Act"
  • SB 60 (Phillips-Hill): Amends Title 18 (Crimes and Offenses) and 42 (Judiciary), in human trafficking, providing for the offense of trafficking in individuals and for the offense of patronizing a victim of sexual servitude; in public indecency.

​Campus and School Safety

  • ​SB 37 (Schwank): Provides amnesty for students who report domestic violence or sexual assault as it requires postsecondary schools to have policies to protect the students from discipline for violating other school policies, such as drug and alcohol use.)
  • SB 530 (Martin): Amends the Public School Code, in duties & powers of boards of school directors, for est. of independent schools; in pupils & attendance, for expulsion of students convicted or adjudicated delinquent of sexual assault; for safe schools' advocate.
  • HB 495 (Davis): Amends the Public School Code further providing for dating violence education. This bill requires the creation of policies within each school district on incidents of sexual harassment and dating violence. It encourages education and support for middle to high school age students in the area of dating violence and sexual harassment as well as training for teachers and staff.

​Workplace Sexual Harassment and Discrimination

  • ​HB 755 (Toepel) HB 379This package of bills requires trainings for employees and supervisors to prevent discrimination and harassment for all employees and employers must display discrimination and harassment protection rights in the workplace.
  • (Krueger-Braneky): Amends Title 46, providing for professional conduct.  
  • SB 461 (Schwank) Amends Title 42 (Judiciary), in particular rights and immunities, providing for contracts and agreements for nondisclosure of certain information.
  • HB 1384 (Burns) Amends Title 42 (Judiciary), in particular rights and immunities, providing for nondisclosure agreements.
  • HB 849 (Klunk) Act providing for nondisclosure agreements relating to sexual harassment.

​Legal System Reforms

  • ​HB 379 (Isaacson) Extends the statute of limitations on the amount of time victims have to file a discrimination or whistleblower complaint from 180 days to two years.
  • HB 689 (Mullery) Providing for the right to a jury trial for victims and whistleblowers in state court. SB 638 (Haywood).
  • HB 1620 (Davidson) Seeks to allow victims and whistleblowers to seek punitive damages in workplace discrimination cases.
  • HB 135 (Dawkins): Parole Eligibility; Amends Title 18 (Crimes and Offenses), Title 42 (Judiciary and Judicial Procedure) and Title 61 (Prisons and Parole), in an effort to allow those cases that were sentenced to life in prison the eligibility for parole. The bill breaks down guidelines in regards to eligibility. It also seeks to start a fund entitled Life with Parole Reinvestment fund for various programs to include victim services. Effective 60 days upon signing.
  • SB 135 (Street): Parole Eligibility; Amends Title 18 (Crimes and Offenses), Title 42 (Judiciary and Judicial Procedure) and Title 61 (Prisons and Parole), in an effort to allow cases sentenced to life in prison the eligibility for parole. The bill breaks down guidelines in regards to eligibility. It also seeks to start a fund entitled Life with Parole Reinvestment fund for various programs to include victim services. Effective in 60 days upon signing.
  • HB 642 (Kinsey): Medical Parole; Amends Title 61 (Prisons and Parole) adding a chapter providing for medical parole and early release of elderly inmates; and imposing duties on the Department of Corrections, the Pennsylvania Board of Probation and Parole and the Department of Aging. Effective in 60 days.

​Housing and Intimate Partner Violence

  • ​Amends Landlord and Tenant Act, providing for early release or termination of lease or contract because of domestic violence, sexual assault or stalking.  (NOT Listed in 2019R, noted as HB 1051 in 2015-2016)

​Other

  • ​HB 663 (Murt): Amending Title 42 (Judiciary and Judicial Procedure) of the Pennsylvania Consolidated Statutes, in general provisions relating to criminal proceedings, providing for saliva or tissue sample required for DNA analysis after arrest for violent offense and for DNA data bank exchange.
  • HB 1051 (Stephens): Amends Title 23 (Domestic Relations), in child protective services, further providing for penalties for failure to report suspected child abuse by mandated reporters. Increases the offense of willfully failing to report suspected child abuse by a mandate reporter when it is a "continuing course of action" from a misdemeanor of the first degree to a felony of the third degree. Further provides if the child abuse constitutes a felony of the first degree or higher, the person commits a felony of the second degree. Effective in 60 days. (Prior Printer Number: 1214)
  • HB 660 (Murt): Amends Title 42 (Judiciary), in depositions and witnesses, further providing for victims of sexual or physical abuse. (protecting disclosure of minor victim's initials from public consumption).
  • HB 656 (Moul): Amends Title 42 (Judiciary), in sentencing, providing for restitution for tampering with evidence or public records or information. (forces perpetrator to pay for attorney fees, court costs and filing fees).