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Friday, March 28, 2014

Public Safety Leads House Agenda

Public Safety Leads House Agenda

The House returns to session on Monday, March 31. As always, House session and most committee meetings will stream live on Many events also may be viewed on

Always working to protect public safety, the House will take up two bills this week aimed at reducing incidents of gun crime and violence in the Commonwealth.

House Bill 1091 (Rep. John Taylor, R-Philadelphia) would establish a new mandatory minimum sentence of two years for the violation of carrying an illegal firearm on public streets or public property in Philadelphia, and grades the offense as a third-degree felony. The measure is similar to an initiative instituted in New York City in 2005, where violent crime has been reduced overall and shootings have fallen to the lowest levels in nearly two decades.

House Bill 1243 (Rep. Todd Stephens, R-Montgomery County) would require the Pennsylvania State Police to send mental health data within 90 days to the National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS), which is used to check the background of individuals attempting to acquire a firearm nationwide. The bill would additionally require ongoing submissions to the national database within 48 hours of the state police receiving mental health data.

House Bill 1498 (Stephens) would impose a five-year mandatory minimum sentence for felons who illegally and visibly possess a firearm or replica firearm which places the victim in reasonable fear of death or serious bodily injury and designates such actions as a “crime of violence.”

Ensuring School Safety and Educational Opportunities Always Priorities

The House returns to the issue of ensuring safety in our schools by taking up House Bill 2063 (Rep. David Maloney, R-Berks County), which would require public and private schools in Pennsylvania and their independent contractors to conduct a thorough employment history review prior to offering employment to any applicant for a position involving direct contact with children.

Members will also consider a bill to reestablish the Governor’s Schools of Excellence. House Bill 2074 (Rep. Karen Boback, R-Columbia/Luzerne/Wyoming) would require a minimum of three Governor’s Schools of Excellence in science, agricultural science, and engineering and technology at institutions of higher education within the Commonwealth. The program was established originally in 1973 with a focus on the arts but was discontinued in 2009. However, Gov. Tom Corbett has proposed to allocate $350,000 for the program for the 2014-15 fiscal year.

The Weekly Schedule

Identified by bill number, the sponsors and summaries for bills scheduled to be considered in committee or on the House floor are posted below. More information regarding these bills can be found at by clicking on the “Research Bills” tab. Click here for schedule

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