PRIOR PRINTER'S NOS. 2766, 3190, 3323

PRINTER'S NO.  3375

  

THE GENERAL ASSEMBLY OF PENNSYLVANIA

  

HOUSE BILL

 

No.

2026

Session of

2009

  

  

INTRODUCED BY CONKLIN, BROWN, GOODMAN, HARHAI, BRIGGS, HOUGHTON, SIPTROTH, READSHAW, M. O'BRIEN, K. SMITH, MURT, HARKINS, BOYLE, FRANKEL, LENTZ, SOLOBAY, MELIO, BELFANTI, SANTONI, MAHONEY, KORTZ, McGEEHAN, D. COSTA, BRADFORD, WHITE, R. TAYLOR, MATZIE, DEASY, FABRIZIO, GEIST, GIBBONS, YOUNGBLOOD, MARKOSEK, WAGNER, CALTAGIRONE AND MURPHY, OCTOBER 6, 2009

  

  

AS AMENDED ON THIRD CONSIDERATION, HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES, MARCH 16, 2010   

  

  

  

AN ACT

  

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Amending the act of March 10, 1949 (P.L.30, No.14), entitled "An

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act relating to the public school system, including certain

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provisions applicable as well to private and parochial

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schools; amending, revising, consolidating and changing the

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laws relating thereto," in safe schools, further providing

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for Office for Safe Schools; in terms and courses of study,

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providing for dating violence education.

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The General Assembly finds and declares that:

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(1)  Criminal acts committed against teenagers by other

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young persons are a serious problem in this Commonwealth.

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(2)  Many of the criminal acts take the form of dating

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violence.

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(3)  On August 15, 2007, Demi Brae Cuccia, a 16-year-old

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student at Gateway High School in Monroeville, Allegheny

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County, was fatally stabbed 16 times by her former boyfriend,

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who then made an unsuccessful attempt to take his own life.

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(4)  The 18-year-old person arrested for the brutal

 


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attack was convicted of first degree murder and was sentenced

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to life in prison without parole.

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(5)  In order to educate teens and their parents

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regarding teen dating violence, the family of Demi Brae

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Cuccia has established the Demi Brae Awareness Organization.

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(6)  Students in our secondary schools need to be

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educated about the dangers of teen dating violence so that

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other teenagers will not have to share the same fate as Demi

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Brae Cuccia.

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The General Assembly of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania

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hereby enacts as follows:

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Section 1.  Section 1302-A(c)(7) of the act of March 10, 1949

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(P.L.30, No.14), known as the Public School Code of 1949,

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amended or added June 30, 1995 (P.L.220, No.26) and July 9, 2008

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(P.L.846, No.61), is amended to read:

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Section 1302-A.  Office for Safe Schools.--* * *

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(c)  In addition to the powers and duties set forth under

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subsection (a), the office is authorized to make targeted grants

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to schools to fund programs which address school violence,

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including, but not limited to, the following programs:

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* * *

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(7)  Development and implementation of research-based

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violence prevention programs that address risk factors to reduce

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incidents of problem behaviors among students including, but not

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limited to, bullying and dating violence.

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* * *

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Section 2.  The act is amended by adding a section to read:

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Section 1526.  Dating Violence Education.--(a)  The

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department, through its Office for Safe Schools, shall develop a

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model dating violence policy to assist school districts in

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developing policies for dating violence reporting and response. 

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The department, through its Office for Safe Schools, shall

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consult with at least one domestic violence center and at least

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one rape crisis center in developing the model dating violence

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policy. The model policy shall be issued within six months of

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the effective date of this section.

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(b)  (1)  (i)  Each school district shall establish a

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specific policy to address incidents of dating violence

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involving students at school within one year of the effective

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date of this section. Each school district shall verify

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compliance with the department on an annual basis through the

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annual school health report.

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(ii)  The policy shall include, but not be limited to, a

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statement that dating violence will not be tolerated, dating

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violence reporting procedures, guidelines for responses to

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dating violence at school, including designation of the

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appropriate school staff person to receive reports of incidents

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of dating violence, discipline procedures for students that

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commit dating violence at school and contact information for and

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resources available through domestic violence programs and rape

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crisis programs.

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(iii)  No school district shall be required to establish a

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new policy if one exists on the effective date of this section

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and reasonably fulfills the requirements of this section.

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(iv)  The policy shall be published in any school district

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policy or handbook that specifies the comprehensive rules,

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procedures and standards of conduct for students at school.

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(v)  Each school district shall make the dating violence

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policy available on its publicly available Internet website, if

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available, and in every classroom. Each school district shall

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post the policy at a prominent location within each school

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building where such notices are usually posted. Each school

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district shall ensure that the policy is reviewed with students

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within ninety (90) days after the policy is adopted and

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thereafter at least once each school year.

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(2)  (i)  A school district shall provide dating violence

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training to all administrators, teachers, nurses and mental

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health staff at the middle school and high school levels. Upon

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the recommendation of the district superintendent, other staff

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may be included or may attend the training on a volunteer basis.

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(ii)  The dating violence training shall include, but not be

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limited to, basic principles of dating violence, warning signs

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of dating violence, the school district's dating violence

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policy, appropriate responses to incidents of dating violence at

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school and services and resources available through domestic

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violence programs and rape crisis programs.

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(iii)  The training shall be provided annually to all newly

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hired staff deemed appropriate to receive the training by the

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school's administration.

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(iv)  Each school district shall consult with each domestic

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violence program and each rape crisis program that serves the

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region where the school district is located for the development

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and implementation of the dating violence policy and for the

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coordination of the content and provision of dating violence

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training for school district employes.

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(3)  A school district shall inform the students' parents or

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legal guardians of the school district's dating violence policy.

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If requested, the school district shall provide the parents or

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legal guardians with the school district's dating violence

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policy and relevant information. The school district may provide

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parent awareness training.

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(4)  (i)  A school district shall incorporate dating violence

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education that is age-appropriate into the annual health

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curriculum framework for students in grades seven through

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twelve. In developing its dating violence education for

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students, each school district shall consult with each domestic

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violence program and each rape crisis program that serves the

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region where the school district is located.

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(ii)  Dating violence education shall include, but not be

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limited to, defining dating violence and recognizing dating

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violence warning signs, characteristics of healthy

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relationships, information regarding peer support and the role

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friends and peers have in addressing dating violence and contact

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information for and the services and resources available through

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domestic violence centers and rape crisis centers, including

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detailed information concerning safety planning, availability

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and enforcement of protection from abuse orders and the

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availability of other services and assistance for students and

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their families. The school district shall also provide students

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with the school district's dating violence policy.

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(iii)  The Department of Education, through its Office for

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Safe Schools, in consultation with at least one domestic

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violence center and at least one rape crisis center, shall

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provide school entities with educational materials regarding

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dating violence and shall prepare model grade-appropriate topics

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relating to dating violence and healthy relationships for the

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purpose of assisting school entities in preparing an

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instructional program on dating violence.

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(c)  Upon written request to the school principal, a parent

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or legal guardian of a student who is under eighteen (18) years

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of age, within a reasonable period of time after the request is

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made, shall be permitted to examine the dating violence

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education program instruction materials at the school in which

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the student is enrolled.

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(d)  At the request of a parent or guardian, a pupil shall be

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excused from all or parts of the school district dating violence

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education program. The principal shall notify all parents or

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guardians of their ability to withdraw their children from the

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instruction by returning a signed opt-out form.

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(d) (e)  This section shall not be construed as preventing a

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person from seeking judicial relief from dating violence under

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any other law or as establishing or modifying any civil

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liability.

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(e) (f)  As used in this section, the following words and

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phrases shall have the meanings given to them in this

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subsection:

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"At school" shall mean on school property as defined in

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section 1301-A.

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"Dating partner" shall mean a person, regardless of gender,

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involved in an intimate relationship with another person,

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primarily characterized by the expectation of affectionate

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involvement, whether casual, serious or long-term.

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"Dating violence" shall mean behavior where one person uses

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threats of, or actually uses, physical, sexual, verbal or

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emotional abuse to control the person's dating partner.

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"Department" shall mean the Department of Education of the

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Commonwealth.

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"Domestic violence center" shall have the meaning specified

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in section 2333 of the act of April 9, 1929 (P.L.177, No.175),

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known as "The Administrative Code of 1929."

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"Domestic violence program" shall have the meaning specified

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in section 2333 of the act of April 9, 1929 (P.L.177, No.175),

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known as "The Administrative Code of 1929."

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"Rape crisis center" shall have the meaning specified in

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section 2333 of the act of April 9, 1929 (P.L.177, No.175),

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known as "The Administrative Code of 1929."

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"Rape crisis program" shall have the meaning specified in

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section 2333 of the act of April 9, 1929 (P.L.177, No.175),

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known as "The Administrative Code of 1929."

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Section  3.  This act shall take effect July 1, 2010, or

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immediately, whichever is later.

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