House pumps the brake on JRI2 bills despite unanimous Senate support

House pumps the brake on JRI2 bills despite unanimous Senate support

The second phase of the state’s Justice Reinvestment Program, which cruised through the Senate with unanimous approval, will likely receive more scrutiny in the House, with the bills likely to remain in committee until fall.

House Judiciary Chair Rob Kauffman (R-Franklin) said his committee will take the summer to review the three-bill package, with a litany of members saying they wanted to ensure the committee learned from the successes and failures of the first installment of JRI, passed in 2012.

Monday, June 17, 2019/Author: Andrew Bahl
Categories: News and Views
In 'opening conversation' on recreational marijuana, lawmakers consider effect legalization has on gun rights

In 'opening conversation' on recreational marijuana, lawmakers consider effect legalization has on gun rights

Following the completion of Lt. Gov. John Fetterman’s listening tour on recreational marijuana, lawmakers cautioned Monday in a joint House hearing that they would take their time in considering the impact legalization of the drug could have on Pennsylvania.

The House Health and Judiciary Committees heard from law enforcement, gun control advocates and gun owners about the effect of marijuana use, both medical and recreational, has on gun ownership. The matter is complicated, those testifying said, because of how federal and state laws conflict.
Monday, June 3, 2019/Author: Andrew Bahl
Categories: News and Views
After committee vote, lawmakers now forced to pick path forward on reforming judicial elections

After committee vote, lawmakers now forced to pick path forward on reforming judicial elections

Lawmakers are at odds over the best path to reforming judicial elections, even as they voted to move two competing bills out of committee Tuesday.

The House Judiciary Committee voted to approve the two bills, one authored by Rep. Paul Schemel (R-Franklin), the other by Rep. Russ Diamond (R-Lebanon). 
Tuesday, April 30, 2019/Author: Andrew Bahl
Categories: News and Views
State Police defend interactions with federal immigration authorities at House hearing

State Police defend interactions with federal immigration authorities at House hearing

Pennsylvania State Police leadership defended a new policy limiting how they can interact with federal immigration authorities before the House Judiciary Committee Wednesday in response to concerns from both conservative lawmakers and civil liberties groups.

Starting in January, PSP policy bars troopers from stopping residents for the sole purpose of determining their immigration status. It also prohibits detaining people based on non-binding administrative warrants issued by federal Immigrations and Customs Enforcement.
Wednesday, March 20, 2019/Author: Andrew Bahl
Categories: News and Views
With hearings to come, lawmakers stake out priorities on criminal justice reform

With hearings to come, lawmakers stake out priorities on criminal justice reform

Legislators have made clear their intentions to continue efforts to trim Pennsylvania’s prison population, pointing to cost savings and the need to make the state’s criminal justice system more equitable.

But despite several major criminal justice reform measures already being introduced, the General Assembly is still in the early stages of charting its course forward on the matter. While none of the bills have gotten hearings as of yet, lawmakers have their sights set on altering the state’s probation system, moving away from cash bail and updating a major criminal justice law already on the books.
Tuesday, March 19, 2019/Author: Andrew Bahl
Categories: News and Views
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