Governor Wolf Applauds PA Senate Action on Domestic Violence Legislative Package
March 20, 2018
Harrisburg, PA – Governor Tom Wolf today applauded the Pennsylvania Senate for unanimously moving a package of domestic violence bills, including those he endorsed in October, out of committee.
“I thank the Senators and advocates who have championed these legislative changes. These Senate bills are the logical next steps to provide further protections for victims of domestic violence, and tools for judges and law enforcement to aid in protecting individuals against crime. Most importantly, we must ensure that domestic abusers do not have access to firearms. There’s frankly no such thing as doing too much to protect and support victims of domestic violence,” Governor Wolf said. “I signed legislation to strengthen domestic violence laws and to support victims of spousal abuse and I’ve stood with students, educators, and lawmakers to build on the “It’s on Us PA” campaign. But we must do more and I urge both chambers to send these bills to my desk.”
Domestic violence legislation backed by Governor Wolf includes:
- Senate Bill 313 (Boscola) allows a domestic violence victim to opt out of a shared phone plan with the abuser with no penalty had second consideration today.
- Senate Bill 449 (Bartolotta) provides additional assessment tools for Magisterial District judges in cases of domestic violence to determine bail for a defendant based on the risk posed to a victim.
- 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 501 (Killion) requires that a defendant relinquish all firearms, other weapons and ammunition upon entry of a Final PFA order; eliminates the third party safe-keeping provision for firearms currently described in Pennsylvania’s PFA Act; and requires that a defendant convicted of a misdemeanor crime of domestic violence turn in their firearms to law enforcement within 24 hours of the conviction.
- 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.