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District Office
1555 Highlands Drive
Suite 110
Lititz, PA 17543
Phone:  (717) 626-1776
FAX:  (717) 626-4234

Capitol Office
51A East Wing
PO Box 202097
Harrisburg PA 17120-2097
Phone: (717) 787-1776

E-Mail:  
smentzer@pahousegop.com

Victim Empowerment & School Safeguards
6/12/2018
By Rep. Steve Mentzer (R-Lititz)
Last week, the House took several steps to help ensure justice for crime victims and bolster school safety.

The House Judiciary Committee reported out several bills to empower victims and safeguard them from being penalized or ignored by the justice system.

Among the bills in the package are those designed to give child victims safe harbor protections, particularly so they can get the crucial help and services they need; prevent young children and those with intellectual disabilities and autism from feeling victimized all over again by testifying against their abuser; exclude evidence of past sexual victimization from trials; and amend the state Constitution to include a Victim’s Bill of Rights (Marsy’s Law).

Additionally, the package includes a comprehensive rewrite of the state’s anti-hazing laws. Of note, the bill would encourage students to seek emergency assistance for those who have been hazed, and individuals would be immune from prosecution for hazing and underage drinking if they call 911 or law enforcement, believe they’re the first to call for help, and remain with the victim until emergency personnel arrive.

Meanwhile, the House Education Committee moved bipartisan legislation to the floor for action.

The first measure, House Bill 2327, would allow public school entities, such as school boards, to go into private, executive session for school safety discussions. This would prevent information about a school’s security measures from falling into the wrong hands and compromising student safety.

The second, House Bill 2215, would require school entities to conduct one school security drill per school year in each school building in place of a monthly fire drill. This would take Act 55 of 2017, which was passed last year to encourage schools to conduct the safety drill yearly, one step further to enhance school safety.
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