HARRISBURG – The Senate today approved legislation sponsored by Sen. Lisa Baker (R-20) that would extend Pennsylvania’s wiretap law to 2029, preserving an important crime-fighting tool along with constitutional protections.
“An effective and constitutional wiretapping law is a balance in which the expectation of privacy for citizens is not intruded upon without overriding public purpose,” Baker said. “To ensure this, the writers of the law provided that the law would sunset periodically, requiring affirmative action by state legislators to reauthorize it. We are at this juncture in 2023.”
Senate Bill 598 would extend the law for six years.
“For many years now, the authority for wiretapping has been a crucial piece in our efforts to combat criminal activity. With new forms of crime emerging, with the advances in communications technology available to those seeking to exploit it for wrongful activities, it may be that we need to adapt the law. We certainly do not want to dispense with it,” Baker said.
“Any time there is a consensus on the need for update or correction, we can act to change state law and procedure,” said Baker, who chairs the Senate Judiciary Committee, which approved the measure last month. “In this time when some people are raising doubts about law enforcement, our action to extend wiretapping authority is a clear and definitive step to support our law enforcement agencies and personnel.”
Senate Bill 598 will be sent to the House of Representatives for consideration.
CONTACT: Jen Wilson