Senate Judiciary Committee Advances Key Bills for Law Enforcement, Enhanced Public Safety

HARRISBURG – The Senate Judiciary Committee passed two significant bills this week aimed at enhancing public safety and protecting Pennsylvanians, according to Sen. Lisa Baker (R-20), chair of the committee.

Senate Bill 988 seeks to help solve cold cases, ensure accurate convictions and provide a critical tool for law enforcement, particularly in challenging sexual assault cases. The bill would bring Pennsylvania in line with 33 other states, by requiring that DNA be collected at the time of arrest rather than only after conviction. An amendment proposed by Baker refines the bill by modifying the list of offenses eligible for DNA collection, removing provisions regarding modified DNA searches to reduce costs and implementing the legislation in phases to allow the state police lab to adapt to the influx of DNA samples.

“By expanding the DNA Collection Act, we are equipping our law enforcement agencies with the tools to solve crimes more efficiently and prevent future offenses,” Baker said. “This legislation represents a significant step forward in ensuring justice and safety for Pennsylvanians.”

Senate Bill 812 addresses the act of “swatting,” or making bogus emergency calls to elicit a significant response from law enforcement. These false alarms, whether part of sophisticated operations or juvenile pranks, pose serious risks and drain emergency resources. Defendants would be required to pay all costs incurred as a result of their behavior.

“Swatting is a dangerous and reckless practice that puts lives at risk and strains our emergency response resources,” Baker said. “This bill sends a clear message that such behavior will not be tolerated in Pennsylvania. We are committed to protecting our communities from these malicious acts.”

Today’s actions by the Senate Judiciary Committee mark significant steps in improving Pennsylvania’s legislative framework in law enforcement and public safety. Senate Bill 988 and Senate Bill 812 reflect the committee’s commitment to advancing policies that protect and serve the citizens of Pennsylvania. Both bills now head to the full Senate for consideration.


CONTACT: Cara Laudenslager

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