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Pennsylvania House of Representatives
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House of Representatives
Session of 2017 - 2018 Regular Session

MEMORANDUM

Posted: March 7, 2017 02:23 PM
From: Representative Robert F. Matzie
To: All House members
Subject: Jury Duty Exclusion for Certain Primary Caregivers (Re-Introduction)
 
In the near future, I will be re-introducing legislation – former House Bill 893 of the 2015-2016 Legislative Session – to excuse certain caregivers from serving on a jury and to make some technical changes to the existing exemptions provisions to clarify when someone is exempted from jury duty and when someone can be excused from jury duty for a specified period of time..

While jury duty is a cornerstone of our judiciary system, if that service results in a burden for individuals who are caring for others, I believe we should take steps to ensure that these individuals can be excused from serving on a jury for the period of time that they are serving as caregivers. My legislation would allow the following individuals to be excused from jury duty:
  • A parent or guardian who has custody of a child under the age of seven and who is the primary caregiver of the child;
  • A parent or guardian who has custody of a school age child who has been excused from compulsory attendance at school or special education program and provide instruction for the child; or
  • A primary caregiver of an elderly or disabled family member.

The legislation also makes it clear that certain individuals may be exempted from jury duty altogether – such as family members of a victim of a homicide or someone over the age of 75 who chooses not to serve on a jury – while others may be excused from a particular jury pool during a certain period of time. These include women who are breastfeeding and individuals who are in active service of the armed forces among others. As a result, the bill attempts to find a balance between the need to expand the jury pool to include as many different types of individuals as possible and those individuals who should be given an accommodation because of their status in life or because others depend upon them on a daily basis.

Please join me in co-sponsoring this much needed legislation.

Previous Co-Sponsors – Former House Bill 893 of 2015-2016 - MAHONEY, DEASY, D. COSTA, READSHAW, FREEMAN, SCHLOSSBERG, DRISCOLL, SAMUELSON, DAVIS, THOMAS, O'BRIEN, BARRAR, KINSEY, BROWNLEE, MOUL, SCHREIBER, STURLA, BISHOP, MURT, C. PARKER, V. BROWN, CARROLL, COHEN, ROZZI, GROVE, PASHINSKI and GIBBONS



Introduced as HB1126