SB 449 (Bartolotta-R) clarifies that Magisterial District Judges may use a risk assessment tool to determine whether a defendant poses a danger to a victim when determining bail in domestic violence cases. SUPPORT THIS BILL BY CONTACTING YOUR LOCAL REPRESENTATIVE.
SB 501 (Killion-R) would include three parts: (1) requires that a defendant relinquish all firearms, other weapons and ammunition upon entry of a final Protection From Abuse order; (2) eliminates the third party safe-keeping provision for firearms currently described in Pennsylvania’s PFA Act; and (3) requires that a defendant convicted of a misdemeanor crime of domestic violence turn in their firearms to law enforcement within 24 hours of their conviction. SUPPORT THIS BILL BY CONTACTING YOUR LOCAL REPRESENTATIVE.
SB 502 (McGarrigle-R) allows judges the ability to extend the terms of a Protection From Abuse order or create an entirely new one if the order is set to expire or has expired while the defendant is incarcerated. The plaintiff would not be required to show that the defendant engaged in a new act of domestic violence that indicates a continued risk of harm to the plaintiff. SUPPORT THIS BILL BY CONTACTING YOUR LOCAL REPRESENTATIVE.
SB 6 (Regan-R) prohibits any individual with a drug conviction on their record the ability to receive Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) benefits for a period of up to 10 years. OPPOSE THIS BILL BY CONTACTING YOUR LOCAL REPRESENTATIVE.
SB 919 (Haywood-D, co-sponsored by Bartolotta-R and Schwank-D) allows a resident of a county housing authority to request relocation if they or someone affiliated with them has experienced domestic or sexual violence. The resident must certify their status as a victim of domestic violence. SUPPORT THIS BILL BY CONTACTING YOUR LOCAL REPRESENTATIVE.
In October 2014, Pennsylvania legislators passed a bill ensuring that victims of domestic violence are not evicted from their residences for calling emergency services multiple times.
The bill negates a controversial provision contained in “nuisance ordinances’’ enforced in dozens of Pennsylvania communities, requiring landlords to evict tenants from residences where 9-1-1 has been called several times in a brief period, usually three times in 12 months.
Rep. Todd Stephens (R-Montgomery County) sponsored the bill in reaction to a case in Norristown, PA. A woman – who was assaulted by an ex-partner who had repeatedly broken into her residence – nearly bled to death because she feared eviction if she called 9-1-1 again. She survived after a neighbor called for assistance. Stephens’ bill passed unanimously in the House in March, but it had stalled in the Senate because of attempts by senators to attach unrelated amendments. Senators finally voted to consider only Stephens’ bill.
In July 2014, Pennsylvania joined a dozen other states in enacting legislation that made intimate partner sexual harassment a crime.
Intimate partner harassment is a term often referring to the posting of nude or sexually explicit photographs or videos of people online without their consent, even if the photograph itself was taken with consent. A current or former spouse, girlfriend, or boyfriend may get revenge or seek to regain control of a victim by uploading photographs to websites, many of which are set up specifically for these kinds of photos or videos. The victim’s name, address, and links to social media profiles are often included with the images, and some websites charge a fee to have the materials removed.
The bill, sponsored by Rep. Thomas Murt (R-Montgomery County), defines this crime as exposing a photograph, film, videotape, or similar recording of the identifiable image of an intimate partner who is nude or explicitly engaged in a sexual act to the view of a third party for no legitimate purpose and with the intent to harass, annoy, or alarm the person depicted. In Pennsylvania, this crime is a felony for depicting a minor and misdemeanor for a non-minor. The bill also grants victims the right to seek damages in civil courts.