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House of Representatives
Session of 2017 - 2018 Regular Session


Posted: December 14, 2016 10:17 AM
From: Representative Jason Dawkins
To: All House members
Subject: Drug Free Zone Expansion to Libraries (Re-Introduction of Former HB486)
In the near future, I will be re-introducing legislation – former House Bill 486 of the 2015-2016 Legislative Session – that would re-enact sentencing enhancements for drug-free school zones and extend them to include libraries.

While in-school libraries are already covered by the Drug-Free School Zone law, public libraries are not. However, public libraries remain a popular destination for our youth. Data published in 2013 by the Pew Research Center show that 62 percent of those aged 16 and 17 have visited a public library in person in the past year, while 70 percent of parents reported that their minor children have visited a public library in the past year. Further, the Public Library Association suggests that “[t]he same things that make libraries a good place to study also make them a place where individuals feel they can get away with drug use. There are quiet corners, private study nooks, and large stacks where one can easily find some privacy. They’re free and open to everyone who walks in, and lingering is welcome.”

Therefore, we should provide children in public libraries with the same protections they enjoy in school zones and ensure the safety of all library patrons. Please consider co-sponsoring this important legislation so that Pennsylvania can join the ranks of states such as Michigan, Tennessee and Utah, which have already made their libraries drug-free zones.