The Office of Victim Advocate has an interest and is tracking the following major legislative items that impact our work with crime victims.
Statute of Limitations Reform
• SB 261 (Scarnati): 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 612 (Rozzi): 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.
Justice Reinvestment Initiative and Supporting Victims
• SB 1070 (Greenleaf): Amends PCCD law around probation supports and services.
• SB 1071 (Greenleaf): Amends Titles 42 and 61, makes improvements to parole supervision.
• SB 1072 (Greenleaf): 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.
• SB 1082 (Hughes): Amends the Crime Victim Act with the goal of serving more crime victims more effectively
• HB 280 (Delozier): Amends Title 42, providing for the deduction of restitution, fees, fines and costs from bail monies that would be otherwise be returnable to a defendant.
• HB 236 (Corbin): Amends Title 42, authorizing wage attachment for the payment of restitution, fines, and costs. This bill maintains first priority status for support payments and grants second priority to restitution. Current law governing the attachment of wages gives priority status only to support obligations.
• HB 234 (D. Costa): Amends Title 42, requiring that each county establish an internal unit dedicated to the collection of restitution, fines, fees, and other court-imposed obligations. Counties that outsource collections are not subject to the requirement. The bill also enhances an existing data-collection mandate.
• HB 285 (Stephens): Amends Title 42, providing for mandatory deductions from inmates’ wages and deposits made to inmates’ personal accounts for the fulfillment of restitution, costs, fees, and other court-ordered obligations. Current law authorizes, but does not require such deductions.
• SB 146 (Boscola): Amends Title 42, in sentencing, providing for lottery winnings intercept.
• SB 147 (Boscola): Amends Title 42,in sentencing, further providing for collection of restitution, reparation, fees, costs, fines and penalties.
• SB 346 (Boscola): Amends Title 42, requiring funds to be deducted from inmate accounts in order to satisfy outstanding required restitution payments.
Intimate Partner Violence
• SB 501 (Killion), HB 2060 (Quinn): Amends PFA Act, prohibiting all domestic abusers subject to a final PFA from having firearms, requiring surrender within 48 hours upon conviction of a misdemeanor crime of domestic violence (current law is 60 days), and limits who is eligible to serve as a third party safekeeper.
• SB 500 (Vulakovich): Amends Title 23, so that if requested by victim, an individual shall accompany the victim to the plaintiff’s residence while PFA order is being served. Allows for retrieval of possessions.
• SB 502 (McGarrigle): Amends Title 23, a victim may request an extension of a PFA order (90 days) when the defendant is or was incarcerated
• 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 313 (Boscola): Amends a Title 23, in protection from abuse, further providing for relief.
• SB 449 (Bartolotta): Amends Title 18, further providing for probable cause arrests in domestic violence cases.
• SB 1092 (Mensch): Amends Title 42, Provides for a sentence enhancement if an act of DV (simple or aggravated assault) was committed in front of a child.
• HB 1632 (Hills-Evans): Amends Title 23, providing for relief and cancelations of telephone contracts for domestic violence victims.
• HB 1633 (Hills-Evans): Amends Public School Code, in establishing a task force on Campus Intimate Partner Violence.
Crime Victims Enhancements
• SB 189 (McGarrigle): Amends Crime Victims Act, providing victims with the same standing in court as defendants.
• HB 1806 (Delozier): Amends Crime Victims Act, further providing for definitions; and making a related editorial change to Title 18 of the Pennsylvania Consolidated Statutes.
• SB 1011 (Reschenthaler), HB 1993 (Delozier): Joint resolution amending the Constitution providing enforceable rights for crime victims in a more equitable way.
• SB 1023 (Sabatina): Amends Title 61, extending the parole application period for Sexually Violent Predators from 1 to 3 years.
• SB 1134 (Schwank): Amending Title 18, criminalizing acts of sextortion and establish grading/sentencing that would improve Pennsylvania’s ability to hold offenders accountable.
• SB 549 (Schwank): Amends the Administrative Code, in powers and duties of the Department of Public Welfare and its departmental administrative and advisory boards and commissions, further providing for domestic violence and rape victims services; and making editorial changes.
Tender Years and Intellectual Disability Witness and Victim Protections
• HB 2321 (Bloom): Amends Title 42, expanding Pennsylvania’s existing tender years hearsay exception which allows for statements made outside of the courtroom to be admissible if they are made by a child.
• HB 2325 (Everett): Amends Title 42, promoting the best interest of residents of this Commonwealth with intellectual disabilities who are material witnesses or victims of crime.
• SB 554 (Greenleaf): Amends Title 18, to protect child victims of human trafficking from being prosecuted for crimes they were forced to commit.
Campus and School Safety
• HB1757 (Dean), SB 871 (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 874 (Baker), HB 1756 (Frankel): Requires postsecondary schools to create the reporting option for students.
• HB 1755 (Daley): Requires postsecondary institutions adopt standards for responding to allegations of sexual violence and expand K-12 health education standards to explicitly address areas of consent and healthy relationships in middle and high school.
• SB 872 (Haywood), HB 1754 (Miller) Consolidates existing requirements for K-12 schools around bullying, harassment, and violence, requiring districts to implement anonymous reporting systems and report statistics to the Pennsylvania Department of Education.
• SB 870 (Hughes), HB 1752 (Boback): Requires the office within PDE to provide resources and support to postsecondary as well as K-12 institutions. The Office will award grants, monitor and assist with compliance with federal laws, and offer training and resources to educational institutions.
• HB 1753 (Sims): Amends Public School Code, requiring school entities and postsecondary institutions to submit information on sexual violence and harassment incidents that occur at the institution and requiring PDE to publish annual report cards.
• HB 1844 (Watson): Amends Public School Code of 1949, in terms and courses of study, further providing for child exploitation awareness education.
Workplace sexual harassment and discrimination
• HB 2280 (Madden), HB 2282 (Rabb), SB 1146 (Farnese), SB 1148 (Tartaglione), SB 1149 (Williams): This package is aimed at protecting more workers by reducing the threshold from four to one employee and extending protections to independent contractors, interns, volunteers, full-time nannies, housekeepers and other domestic workers.
• HB 2282 (Rabb), HB 2283 (D. Costa), SB 1147 (Fontana): This 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.
• HB 1965 (Krueger-Braneky): Amends Title 46, providing for professional conduct.
Legal System Reforms
• HB 2286 (Davidson), SB 1150 (Sen. Haywood), SB 1146 (Sen. Farnese): 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 2284 (O’Brien), HB 2286 (Rep. Davidson), SB 1150 (Sen. Haywood), SB 1146 (Sen. Farnese): Providing for the right to a jury trial for victims and whistleblowers in state court.
• HB 2284 (O’Brien), HB 2286 (Davidson), SB 1150 (Haywood) and SB 1146 (Farnese): Seeks to allow victims and whistleblowers to seek punitive damages in workplace discrimination cases.
• HB 2286 (Davidson), SB 1146 (Farnese): Seeks to allow sexual harassment victims who win their case in state court should have the attorney fees paid by the defendant.
Housing and Intimate Partner Violence
• SB 919 (Haywood): Amends Housing Authorities Law, providing for relocation from one public housing unit to another for victims of Domestic Violence
• HB 890 (Dean): Amends Landlord and Tenant Act, providing for early release or termination of lease or contract because of domestic violence, sexual assault or stalking.
• HB 1523 (Marsico): Amends Title 44, DNA data and testing, for powers and duties of State Police, for State DNA Data Base, for State DNA Data Bank, for State Police recommendation of additional offenses, for procedural compatibility with FBI and for DNA sample required upon conviction, delinquency adjudication and certain ARD cases, providing for collection from persons accepted from other jurisdictions and further providing for procedures for withdrawal, collection and transmission of DNA samples, for procedures for conduct, disposition and use of DNA analysis, for DNA data base exchange and for expungement.
• HB 1952 (Marsico): Adam Walsh Act; Amends Title 18,23 & 42 , in sexual offenses, further providing for conduct relating to offenders & for general rule; further providing for offenses; & making editorial changes.
• HB 2641 (Stephens): Amends Title 23, in child protective services, stipulating that if a person's willful failure continues while the person knows or has reasonable cause to believe the child is being subjected to child abuse or if the person knows or has reasonable cause to believe the person who committed the child abuse is likely to commit additional acts of child abuse, the person commits a felony of the third degree, except that if the child abuse constitutes a felony of the first degree or higher, the person commits a felony of the second degree.