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House Co-Sponsorship Memoranda

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House of Representatives
Session of 2017 - 2018 Regular Session


Posted: January 6, 2017 02:33 PM
From: Representative Donna Bullock
To: All House members
Subject: Co-Sponsorship: Prohibition on arrest records as condition of housing lease
In the near future, I plan to introduce legislation that would prohibit landlords from asking certain questions about a tenant’s criminal background, unless it is in regards to felony or misdemeanor conviction.

Too often, individuals who have criminal histories, and have turned a new leaf, find it difficult to find adequate housing. As a basic right, and a condition of successful recovery, access to housing should not be based on one’s prior violations or indiscretions. Recently, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) has provided guidance to Section 8 housing owners, that criminal records will no longer be a condition of approval for public housing.

Our neighbor Ohio, has had success with programs aimed at assisting those with arrest histories. The nationwide recidivism rate is 49.7%, Ohio’s is 27.5%. My proposal is a modest pivot toward changing how the Commonwealth rehabilitates those with arrest histories.

I respectfully ask that you join me in my effort to guarantee that no Pennsylvanian is denied shelter for past mistakes. If you have any questions, please contact my Research Analyst -- Takesha Latham at 717-787-3480 or via email at tlatham@pahouse.net.

Introduced as HB514