Active Beginning For Senate Judiciary Committee

Members to Consider Bills on Victims’ Rights, Tobacco and Vaping Products, and Sextortion

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HARRISBURG – It will be an active beginning for a committee with a weighty agenda of bills already this session, according to Sen. Lisa Baker, R-20, who chairs the Senate Judiciary Committee. Ten bills are scheduled for consideration tomorrow on issues related to victims’ rights, deterring the use of tobacco and vaping products by minors, and sextortion.

WHEN:

Wednesday, March 27, 2019
9:00 AM

WHERE:  

Hearing Room 1, North Office Building

WHAT:

VICTIMS’ RIGHTS

SB 149 – Sen. John Sabatina, D-5

Marsy’s Law adds a victims’ bill of rights to the Pennsylvania Constitution and places victims’ rights on equal footing with those of the accused. As a proposed constitutional amendment, the legislation must pass both chambers in identical form, in consecutive legislative sessions, before being put on the ballot as a referendum. It passed the House and Senate unanimously last session.

SB 123 – Sen. John Sabatina, D-5

Karen’s Law seeks to prevent further victimization of survivors of sexual abuse. Current law allows one year to pass before a convicted sexually violent predator can re-apply for parole. This bill would extend the time to three years after their most recent parole application.

SB 399 – Sen. Wayne Langerholc, R-35

Establishes a comprehensive bill of rights in Pennsylvania for survivors of sexual assault. This legislation builds on the federal “Survivors’ Bill of Rights Act” by ensuring that the same protections and procedures are applied at the state and local level.

SB 425 – Sen. Wayne Langerholc, R-35

Amends the Pennsylvania Crime Victims Act to mirror the Federal Crime Victims’ Bill of Rights, stating that a victim cannot be excluded from a trial unless the court determines that testimony of the victim will be materially altered if the victim were to hear other testimony at trial.

SB 431 – Sen. Wayne Langerholc, R-35

Toughens Pennsylvania’s Rape Shield Law by expanding the list of crimes in which past sexual conduct of a victim is inadmissible in court to include human trafficking, incest, corruption of minors, and sexual abuse and exploitation of children. Also bars evidence of past sexual victimization.

SB 479 – Sen. Lisa Baker, R-20

Strengthens protections for young abuse victims by expanding the Tender Years Exception for out-of-court statements to include additional serious sexual offenses such as child sexual abuse, child exploitation, incest, and human trafficking.

SB 469 – Sen. Dan Laughlin, R-49

Extends the Tender Years Exception for out-of-court statements to include protections for individuals who are intellectually disabled or autistic.

TOBACCO AND VAPING

SB 396 – Sen. Lisa Baker, R-20

Expands the definition of tobacco products to prohibit the sale of vaping devices, gums, and patches to minors, and bans their use in schools, consistent with laws already governing other tobacco products.

SB 473 – Sen. Mario Scavello, R-40

Raises the minimum age to purchase tobacco and vaping products to 21, which is estimated to reduce initiation of tobacco use by 15-17 year olds by 25 percent.

SEXTORTION

SB 337 – Sens. Judy Schwank, D-11, and Kim Ward, R-39

Criminalizes “sextortion,” a form of sexual extortion where a person threatens harm or withholds a reward or service in order to coerce sexual acts, images or videos from a victim.