Below are some important Harrisburg updates that may be helpful to you.
This week, neither the House nor the Senate was in full Session, although the House was in on Monday in order to hold a very important Judiciary Committee Meeting to move some police reform bills. In a call for action to improve relationships between law enforcement and the communities they protect and serve, it was important that these bills aimed at improving the vetting and training of officers were moved in a first step to healing our communities. Link to the hearing information can be found here: http://www.pahousegop.com/Video/Judiciary
HB 1841 (passed unanimously)
- Requires a thorough background investigation on an applicant as a law enforcement officer.
- Includes a review of the applicant’s employment information and separation records from prior law enforcement employment.
- Requires the establishment and maintenance of an electronic database containing separation records of law enforcement officers for use by other law enforcement agencies when hiring certified law enforcement officers.
HB 1910 (passed unanimously)
- Requires the training of officers on interacting with individuals of diverse racial, ethnic and economic backgrounds; implicit bias training; recognizing and reporting child abuse; and annual training on the use of appropriate force.
- Establishes better access to mental health evaluations for law enforcement officers.
Similarly, the Senate Judiciary and Senate Law & Justice Committees held a joint hearing over two days along the same lines, with testimony from over 40 participants, including law enforcement organizations, district attorneys, community activists and academics, among others. Some of the ideas discussed included improved police training, updating use of force policies, parole reform and the danger of defunding police. While this hearing was a first step in the Senate, this is by no means the end of our collective efforts to improve police and community relations for all.
Finally, for those who are interested, the Pennsylvania Capitol will reopen to visitors this Monday, June 22nd with safety procedures in place. Information on the requirements for visiting the Capitol can be found on the Department of General Services website.
Lastly, I encourage you to continue to stay calm and safe in whichever way you can as we ride this out together. I have been sending out newsletters almost daily with the most up-to-date information regarding COVID-19 with specific information related to our area. If you’re interested, you can sign up to receive these newsletters on my website, senatormensch.com. You can also keep an eye on my website for news releases, email me with questions or concerns, or find contact information for my district offices which you can get in touch with if you need anything.
If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact my office at 215-541-2388.
Senator Bob Mensch
24th Senatorial District