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House of Representatives
Session of 2017 - 2018 Regular Session


Posted: December 27, 2016 09:03 AM
From: Representative Christopher M. Rabb
To: All House members
Subject: Lowering the Maximum Sentence of a Misdemeanor of the Third Degree

In the near future, I intend to introduce legislation that will lower the maximum sentence of a misdemeanor of the third degree from 365 days to 364 days. The measure also allows individuals convicted of a misdemeanor of the third degree and sentenced to a term of one year prior to July 1, 2017, to submit an application before the court of common please requesting to have the term of the sentence modified to the maximum of 364 days.

Currently, there is a discrepancy between state and federal law. In Pennsylvania, a misdemeanor of the third degree carries a sentence of up to one year. However, the same crime is considered an aggravated felony under the federal immigration law – which is a deportable offense – simply by carrying a possible sentence of one year. As a result, a legal, tax-paying immigrant convicted of a crime considered a misdemeanor in Pennsylvania would be considered a felon under federal immigration law and face deportation.

We should not allow families to be torn apart due to a technicality under federal immigration law. Legislation aimed at reducing deportations of legal immigrants could potentially protect the 759,837 foreign-born residents living in Pennsylvania if they have not become U.S. citizens and are convicted of a minor crime and sentenced to a year in jail. Pennsylvania’s legal, foreign-born population has increased nearly 50% from 2000-2013 and plays a vital role in Pennsylvania’s economy. From 2006 to 2010 immigrant businesses in the state generated almost $2.2 billion in income per year.

Please join me in co-sponsoring this very important legislation which will allow Pennsylvania to follow in the footsteps of other states such as California, Washington, Nevada, and Illinois that have already passed similar laws.

Introduced as HB1368