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Pennsylvania House of Representatives
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House Co-Sponsorship Memoranda

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House of Representatives
Session of 2017 - 2018 Regular Session


Posted: July 24, 2018 11:22 AM
From: Representative Kevin Haggerty
To: All House members
Subject: Protection from Abuse Orders: Drug and Alcohol Testing
The Protection from Abuse Order (PFA) plays a pivotal role in the prevention of domestic abuse in our Commonwealth and beyond. We have all heard countless stories of abuse escalating into homicide when left unchecked, and many of my colleagues in the House are working tirelessly to bolster the effectiveness of PFA’s and ensure such escalations become a thing of the past. The impact a PFA petition can have on the lives of those involved can vary from life-saving to life-destroying. There is a growing, yet thus far unexplored contingent of PFA petitions filed under false pretense. The manifestation of this trend has been seen across the country. One recent study of PFA petitions in Delaware found 16% of petitions to have been filed fraudulently, with the petitioners leveling false accusations against their partners most frequently in messy break-ups, separations, and divorce cases.

The impact a false petition for a PFA can have on its subject is incalculable. Not only does it damage the reputation of the individual within the community and the workplace, it could lead to unjust incarceration. It is vital that our courts have the full context in all judicial matters, let alone those involving such critical, potentially explosive matters. To that end, I will be introducing legislation requiring the drug and alcohol testing of individuals filing petitions for PFA orders with a lack of substantive evidence. In these contentious situations, a clear mind is required to make the best judgement and my legislation will help ensure petitions are filed without the negative influence of intoxicating substances.

I ask that you please join me in co-sponsoring this timely and important legislation.