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Pennsylvania House of Representatives
https://www.legis.state.pa.us/cfdocs/Legis/CSM/showMemoPublic.cfm?chamber=H&SPick=20170&cosponId=25192
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House of Representatives
Session of 2017 - 2018 Regular Session

MEMORANDUM

Posted: February 12, 2018 04:08 PM
From: Representative Dan L. Miller and Rep. Madeleine Dean
To: All House members
Subject: Eliminating Three-Strike Felonies for Retail Theft
 
In the near future, we will be introducing legislation that would eliminate the three-strike felony provision for retail theft. Currently, a person can get felony of the third degree for a third retail theft conviction no matter the value of the item taken. This means that you can get a felony for stealing a tube of toothpaste.

To put this in context, a felony of the third degree can carry up to 7 years in prison with $15,000 in fines. Other charges that can be a felony of the third degree include involuntary manslaughter, carrying a firearm without a license, robbery, and institutional sex assault.

Retail theft is overwhelmingly committed by people who are battling addiction. This otherwise low-level, non-violent offense is more often than not committed by a woman with a drug problem. It is our belief that the goals of public safety, accountability, and restitution can be served under existing retail theft misdemeanor grading. However, the impact of felony charge can severely impede our shared goals of long-term sobriety, reintegration, and independence. Simply put, a third degree felony for a tube of toothpaste while in the midst of drug addiction is an unwarranted and unhelpful barrier to a productive life.

This legislation leaves in place the felony of the third degree grading for retail theft of items over $1,000, firearms, and cars.

Please join us in sponsoring this important piece of legislation.

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Introduced as HB2098