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House of Representatives
Session of 2013 - 2014 Regular Session


Posted: September 25, 2013 10:08 AM
From: Representative Todd Stephens
To: All House members
Subject: Protection for Victims of Crime from Certain Municipal Ordinances

In the near future, I will be introducing legislation that will prohibit municipal ordinances from penalizing a resident or landlord for needing police or emergency assistance at their property.

Several municipalities in Pennsylvania have enacted ordinances, sometimes referred to as nuisance ordinances, that penalize residents or landlords when police are contacted regarding an incident at their property. Unfortunately, the unintended consequence of these ordinances is that victims of domestic violence face possible eviction or other penalties for making a 911 call for help.

As a recent NY Times article points out,“The problem with these ordinances is that they turn victims of crime who are pleading for emergency assistance into ‘nuisances’ in the eyes of the city…They limit people’s ability to seek help from police and punish victims for criminal activity committed against them.” (http://www.nytimes.com/2013/08/17/us/victims-dilemma-911-calls-can-bring-eviction.html?pagewanted=all&_r=0)

In Pennsylvania, crime victims should not face consequences for calling for help.

Please join me in sponsoring this important piece of legislation to protect our citizens.

Introduced as HB1796