House Judiciary passes bills aimed at protecting corrections officers; vote on 'monumental' criminal justice reform to come

House Judiciary passes bills aimed at protecting corrections officers; vote on 'monumental' criminal justice reform to come

The House Judiciary Committee passed a slate of bills Tuesday to beef up protections for corrections officers, raising the eyebrows of some of the committee’s more liberal members despite a pledge from the chairman that more aggressive criminal justice reform measures will get a look next month.

The bills, which include increasing penalties for assaulting a corrections officer and allowing county corrections officers to lock their personal firearms in their vehicles, all passed with some measure of bipartisan support.
Tuesday, November 19, 2019/Author: Andrew Bahl
Categories: News and Views
Gift ban legislation clears critical House committee

Gift ban legislation clears critical House committee

In what would be a monumental change to state ethics requirements, the House State Government Committee on Tuesday unanimously approved a bill that would ban public officials from taking cash gifts and tighten restrictions for what other gifts they may receive.

House Bill 1945 was reported out of committee after a unanimous vote and would update state law to ban all cash gifts to public officials and employees.
Tuesday, November 19, 2019/Author: Justin Sweitzer
Categories: News and Views
“Enough is enough”: Lawmakers call for increased criminal penalties for bullies

“Enough is enough”: Lawmakers call for increased criminal penalties for bullies

Roughly one in five students admit having been bullied at some point during their schooling, a statistic that does not exempt members of the General Assembly.

As part of a bipartisan push to strengthen criminal penalties for bullies, legislators ditched statistics and policy on Tuesday and settled for a different approach to get their point across: personal experience.

Tuesday, November 19, 2019/Author: Justin Sweitzer
Categories: News and Views
Philly “red flag” laws awaiting review and Mayor’s signature

Philly “red flag” laws awaiting review and Mayor’s signature

A bill authorizing the removal of guns from those considered a threat to themselves and others passed Philadelphia City Council and now awaits the signature of Mayor Jim Kenney (D). If signed, it will likely face a legal challenge. 

Philadelphia is the second major jurisdiction in the commonwealth to pass legislation regarding protective orders against citizens that would remove firearms from their possession. The one passed in Allegheny County has already been challenged in court and a county judge deemed it “void and unenforceable” last month.
Tuesday, November 19, 2019/Author: Marco Cerino
Categories: News and Views
Yudichak to register as independent, caucus with GOP in blow to Democratic hopes of re-taking Senate

Yudichak to register as independent, caucus with GOP in blow to Democratic hopes of re-taking Senate

Sen. John Yudichak, a moderate lawmaker from Luzerne County, announced Tuesday he would be leaving the Democratic party and changing his registration to independent, leaving Democrats short an important seat in their fight to retain control of the upper chamber.

Yudichak, who will now be caucusing with Republicans, said in a letter that the decision came as a result of the increasingly partisan nature of the General Assembly. He won re-election for a third Senate term last year in a district that is becoming increasingly conservative, including parts of rural Luzerne and Carbon counties.
Tuesday, November 19, 2019/Author: Andrew Bahl
Categories: News and Views
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