|Posted:||May 11, 2020 04:10 PM|
|From:||Senator David J. Arnold, Jr.|
|To:||All Senate members|
|Subject:||Ensuring Public Safety During a Declaration of Emergency|
|In the near future I will be introducing legislation that will prioritize public safety during a declaration of emergency, if the need arises to release state prison inmates.
Under Title 35, Section 7301 (General authority of Governor) the Governor is responsible for meeting the dangers to this Commonwealth and people presented by disasters. More specifically, under section 7301(f)(7)(Additional powers), the Governor has the authority to “control ingress and egress to and from a disaster area, the movement of persons within the area and the occupancies of premises therein.”
During the COVID-19 emergency of 2020, the Administration decided to release up to 1,800 state inmates for fear they may contract COVID-19. This legislation is not aimed at challenging the authority of the Governor under a state of emergency, but rather put the proper protocols in place to ensure public safety.
At noted above, section 7301(f)(7) has no substantive provisions and only discusses additional powers of the Executive, leaving many questions as to how the released inmates are being monitored, if they are receiving necessary treatments, or if where they are residing will be a safe environment.
That is why I am proposing additional provisions that would have to be met, should this statute be utilized in the future by the Executive:
Introduced as SB1158