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House of Representatives
Session of 2017 - 2018 Regular Session


Posted: February 23, 2017 03:54 PM
From: Representative Todd Stephens
To: All House members
Subject: Mandatory Minimum Sentencing Laws

I am introducing legislation to address constitutional issues the Court found with Pennsylvania’s mandatory minimum sentencing laws. My legislation will consolidate language from two bills which passed the House of Representatives last session: HB 1601 (Vereb; passed the House 143-54) and HB 1632 (Stephens; passed the House 165-31).

Several years ago, Pennsylvania’s mandatory minimum sentences were invalidated on procedural grounds by the United States and Pennsylvania Supreme Court. The decisions held that the procedures for imposing a mandatory sentence in these statutes violated a defendant’s procedural right to have a jury determine any fact affecting the minimum or maximum term of incarceration.

This bill will provide the constitutional rights the court found lacking in our statutes. Specifically, the legislation would address mandatory sentences for:

Crimes Code (Title 18):
Section 6314 (Sentencing and penalties for trafficking drugs to minors)
Section 6317 (Drug-free school zones)
Section 7508 (Drug trafficking sentencing and penalties.)
Note: In addition to removing the unconstitutional provisions, the amendment also adjusts the minimum mandatory sentence downward and the raises the amount of drug triggering the mandatory for some substances. The details can be found in the analysis of HB 1632.

Judicial Code (Title 42):
Section 9712 (Sentences for offenses committed with firearms)
Section 9712.1 (Sentences for certain drug offenses committed with firearms)
Section 9713 (Sentences for offenses committed on public transportation)
Section 9717 (Sentences for offenses against elderly persons)
Section 9718 (Sentences for offenses against infant persons)
Section 9719 (Sentences for offenses committed while impersonating a law enforcement officer)

In addition, the bill addresses similar procedural issues with respect to 42 Pa. C.S.A. 9718.4 Sentence for failure to comply with registration of sexual offenders.

Mandatory sentences ensure that people committing these serious crimes will be held accountable for their actions. Please join me in co-sponsoring this legislation.

Introduced as HB741