Governor Wolf Asks House to Send Him Bipartisan Senate Domestic Violence Bills
April 06, 2018
Harrisburg, PA – Governor Tom Wolf today is asking State House leaders and committee chairs, upon their return to the Capitol next week, to swiftly send him a package of domestic violence reform bills passed overwhelmingly in the Pennsylvania State Senate, including Senate Bill 501, which would fix an arcane law that allows domestic abusers keep access to guns.
“The bills passed by the Senate are important steps toward providing additional protections for victims of domestic violence,” said Governor Wolf. “Most importantly, we must ensure that domestic abusers do not have access to firearms. Our laws have must be adequately strengthened to address domestic violence. I applaud the bipartisan work of the Senate to pass these reforms, including many which were supported unanimously.
“Domestic abusers are known to use firearms to claim the lives of their victims and others. The House should act on these bipartisan, commonsense pieces of legislation so I can sign them into law. We must protect victims – spouses and children – of domestic violence and attempt to prevent domestic abusers from escalating their violence in everyday places that result in greater violence. The State House should not wait one unnecessary minute to act on this bipartisan, commonsense legislative package to protect victims and reduce violence, so I can sign them into law.”
According to recent research, from 2009 to 2016 in the U.S., there were 156 mass shootings—incidents in which four or more people were shot and killed, not including the shooter. These incidents resulted in 1,187 victims shot: 848 people were shot and killed, and 339 people were shot and injured. The majority of mass shootings—54 percent of cases—were related to domestic or family violence.
The Senate’s domestic violence legislation backed by Governor Wolf includes:
- Senate Bill 501 (Killion) requires that a defendant relinquish all firearms, other weapons and ammunition upon entry of a Final PFA order and strengthens protections for the timeframe and safekeeping of firearms owned by a domestic abuser
- Senate Bill 313 (Boscola) allows a domestic violence victim to opt out of a shared phone plan with the abuser with no penalty.
- Senate Bill 500 (Vulakovich) provides for a law enforcement official to accompany a victim to his or her residence before or during the service of a PFA order.
- Senate Bill 502 (McGarrigle) allows judges to extend the terms of a PFA order or create an entirely new one if the order is set to expire or has expired while a defendant is incarcerated. The victim would not be required to show that the defendant engaged in a new act of domestic violence that indicates a continued risk of harm.
- Senate Bill 919 (Haywood, co-sponsored by Sens. Bartolotta and Schwank) 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.