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Senate Co-Sponsorship Memoranda

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Senate of Pennsylvania
Session of 2017 - 2018 Regular Session


Posted: April 21, 2017 01:26 PM
From: Senator Guy Reschenthaler and Sen. Richard L. Alloway, II
To: All Senate members
Subject: Constable Professionalization Act
In the near future, we plan on introducing legislation that would reform and modernize the constabulary in the Commonwealth. Constables have an essential role in our justice system, and by clarifying their role, we can ensure that they continue to serve our communities throughout Pennsylvania into the future.

As former magisterial district judges, we often worked with constables and have experienced firsthand how indispensable their efforts are to the administration of justice. Their assistance in serving warrants, among many other tasks, leads to a faster and more efficient process.

By reforming rather than eliminating the constabulary, this legislation works to protect Pennsylvania taxpayers. Replacement of constables would not be a cheaper alternative, as they provide necessary services and would need to be replaced at a higher cost with salaried positions. Constables bear nearly all of the costs associated with their duties, such as insurance and vehicles, and their fees are mostly paid by plaintiffs and defendants.

Developed from the Joint State Government Commission’s proposed statutory reforms on constables, this legislation would amend Title 44 to provide some needed updates for the constables in Pennsylvania. With input from constables and the support of the Commonwealth Constables Association, the changes from the commission’s proposal increase the professional standards beyond the commission’s original recommendations.

This legislation will include specific language regarding constables’ role and uniform practices, higher standards such as background checks, medical exams, and training minimums, and a mandatory oversight committee in each county and one at a state level. In addition, new language regarding conflicts of interest will be included as well as an update of the fee structure.

These measures will increase accountability and professionalism among constables and will update the law to reflect modern standards of law enforcement where appropriate.

We hope you will join us in co-sponsoring this legislation. Please contact us with any questions at 717-787-5839.

Introduced as SB927