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House of Representatives
Session of 2019 - 2020 Regular Session


Posted: August 19, 2019 02:48 PM
From: Representative Todd Stephens
To: All House members
Subject: Sentences for Violent Offenders – 3 Bill Package
As terror and tragedy from gun violence continue to plague our streets, never has it been more clear that we need to address sentences for violent offenders. I am introducing a three bill package of reforms to deal with violent criminals who endanger our families.

Document #1

Introduced as HB1850

Description: BILL #1

I am reintroducing legislation to reinstate Pennsylvania’s mandatory minimum sentences for violent offenders. The bill will not reinstate the drug mandatories that were based solely on the weight of certain drugs where the offender did not possess a firearm.  This bill previously 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 Courts. This bill will provide the constitutional procedures the court found lacking in our statutes. Specifically, this legislation would reinstate mandatory sentences for:

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)

Mandatory sentences ensure that people committing these serious crimes will be held accountable for their actions and take violent offenders off of our streets. Please join me in co-sponsoring this legislation.

Document #2

Introduced as HB1851

Description: BILL #2

Felons who illegally possess firearms are a danger to us all. I will be reintroducing legislation to combat gun violence committed by those already prohibited from possessing firearms. This bill previously passed the House 184-11. If we want to get serious about getting illegal guns off our streets we must get serious with the penalties we impose for felons violating our laws. Tougher penalties will deter felons from illegally possessing firearms as well as provide our prosecutors with tools to combat the straw purchasers who illegally provide these firearms.

Currently we have no mandatory minimum sentence for felons who illegally possess firearms - my bill would impose a 5 year mandatory minimum sentence. My legislation would also designate the crime of a felon illegally possessing a firearm as a "crime of violence" triggering our second strike (10 year mandatory) and third strike (twenty-five year mandatory) provisions for repeat offenders.

Document #3

Introduced as HB1852

Description: BILL #3 – Ensuring Violent Criminals Receive Separate Sentences for Each Victim they Target

Violent criminals who target multiple victims should receive separate sentences for each victim of their crimes. Current law diminishes the value of crime victims by allowing Judges to permit violent criminals to serve their sentences concurrently. My bill requires Judges to impose consecutive sentences for each victim of a violent crime.