INTIMIDATION TACTICS BILL CLEARS COMMITTEE, HEADS TO FULL SENATE

A loophole in the Pennsylvania Criminal Code allowing for violent intimidation tactics during collective bargaining negotiations is one step closer to being closed.

House Bill 1154, introduced by Rep. Ron Miller (R-York), passed the Senate Judiciary Committee today by unanimous vote. One amendment was adopted to the bill.

The bill as amended would close the loophole that allows certain harassment, stalking, and other intimidation tactics when they take place in conjunction with collective bargaining agreement negotiations. The amendment ensured that speech protected by the state and federal constitutions would remain protected under the crimes code; however, it also ensured that uses of weapons of mass destruction in such negotiations are completely illegal.

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Tuesday, April 1, 2014/Author: The PLS Reporter
Categories: News and Views

RALLY CALLS FOR BETTER HUMAN TRAFFICKING LAWS

Human trafficking is the second largest criminal operation in the world. Pennsylvania is one of only two states lacking a sex trafficking statute.

A group of Senators and advocates met in the Capitol Tuesday morning to show their support for a bill attempting to change both of those facts.

Senate Bill 75, introduced by Sen. Stewart Greenleaf (R-Montgomery), aims to provide a definition of human trafficking and prohibit it in Pennsylvania while also giving power to prosecute the perpetrator of human trafficking. The bill also provides training to respond to human and sex trafficking, details a coordinated response plan, and provides for victim services and protection.

“We have to stop treating victims as criminals,” said Sen. Greenleaf. “That’s what’s happening right now.”

Showing bipartisan support for the bill, Senators Daylin Leach (D-Montgomery) and Andrew Dinniman (D-Chester) agreed with Sen. Greenleaf.

“This is nothing short of human slavery,” opined Sen. Leach. He said Senate Bill 75 would make Pennsylvania one of the most progressive states in the country when it comes to human trafficking enforcement.

Sen. Dinniman stated the impetus to move the bill should come from Pennsylvania’s Quaker founding, a group that he said was vehemently anti-slavery. “We and you are part of a tradition in this Commonwealth, that every man and woman is of value,” Sen. Dinniman said.

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Tuesday, April 1, 2014/Author: The PLS Reporter
Categories: News and Views

HIGHER EDUCATION NEWS CONFERENCES HELD

A pair of news conferences tied to higher education funding were held at the Capitol Tuesday.

First, Pennsylvania's Community Colleges rallied for more funding. It was noted at the news conference that currently proposed funding levels for the coming fiscal year will only bring Pennsylvania's community colleges to 2001 funding levels. Rep. Paul Clymer (R-Bucks), Chairman of the House Education Committee, spoke favorably about legislation bringing a community college to northwestern Pennsylvania, an area that currently lacks a community college.

Second, Penn State University Alumni rallied at the Capitol to call for increased funding for Penn State.

Kay Salvino, President of the Penn State Alumni Foundation, discussed state funding support for Penn State Unviersity. “When I went to Penn State, state support was high and tuition was low,” she stated. “Nowadays the situation is reserved. The state contributes only about 14 percent of the general funds budget while tuition accounts for 78 percent. Because of the relatively high proportion of state support when I was a student, I was able to graduate with no debt. How many students can say that today?”

 

Tuesday, April 1, 2014/Author: The PLS Reporter
Categories: Event Central
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COMMITTEE EXAMINES WAYS TO PROVIDE QUALITY INDIGENT DEFENSE

“You have the right to an attorney. If you cannot afford an attorney, one will be provided for you.”

That portion of the reading of an arrestee’s Miranda rights has worked its way into the normal lexicon of law enforcement, legal professionals, and watchers of criminal investigation television programs.

The landmark 1963 US Supreme Court decision in Gideon v. Wainwright established the Sixth Amendment right to counsel and due process requires that those who cannot afford a defense attorney in felony cases must be provided one at the expense of the state. That requirement was later expanded to include any case in which one’s liberty may be deprived. One’s right to counsel in such cases has also been recognized by the Pennsylvania Supreme Court in case law and in its rulemaking capacity.

What the right does not detail, however, is how well indigent defense counsel (also known as public defenders) should be trained or how public defender offices should be funded. Currently, Pennsylvania is the only state that does not provide funding to counties to run public defender offices.

Tuesday, the Senate Judiciary Committee examined the issue in conjunction with Senate Bill 979, which would provide funding for a training center those involved in indigent criminal defense.

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Tuesday, April 1, 2014/Author: The PLS Reporter
Categories: News and Views

NURSES EVALUATE LEGISLATURE, HONOR LEGISLATORS

The Pennsylvania State Nurses Association (PSNA) held an event  at the Capitol Monday afternoon in coordination with their legislative day.

The association evaluated the legislature and their responsiveness to nurses issues. They gave the General Assembly a B+ for legislative action, noting achievement in passing Senate Bill 5, which provides for community-based health care. The association said the legislature did not get a higher grade largely due to it not passing association supported safe staffing legislation.

The association also gave the legislature a B for overall responsiveness and a B+ in improvement, particularly noting action on the Healthy Pennsylvania plan.

Sen. Joseph Scarnati (R-Jefferson) and Rep. Stephen Barrar (R-Delaware) were each honored for their continuing commitment to support and provide a voice to nurses across the state.  

 

 

Monday, March 31, 2014/Author: The PLS Reporter
Categories: Event Central
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