Strengthening Protection From Abuse Orders in PA
Last year, the Pennsylvania Senate passed my legislation that would require the relinquishment of firearms within 24 hours by individuals convicted of misdemeanor domestic violence crimes and by individuals who are the subject of final Protection From Abuse (PFA) orders.
Language from my proposal was subsequently inserted into legislation that passed in the Pennsylvania House of Representatives, and Governor Tom Wolf signed this domestic violence homicide bill into law last fall as Act 79 of 2018; which took effect April 10, 2019.
While taking guns out of the hands of abusers is now helping save lives in our state, more must be done to protect domestic abuse victims.
Building on the General Assembly’s successful efforts last year, Senator John Gordner and I intend to introduce new legislation that would strengthen Pennsylvania’s PFA process.
Our legislation will allow the courts to extend the expiration time period for emergency PFAs. This important reform of our PFA process is long overdue.
Under current law, victims of domestic abuse may seek emergency relief from a local Magisterial District Judge after regular business hours. The emergency relief, however, expires at the close of the next business day when the county Court of Common Pleas is available.
Although the Courts of Common Pleas are open during weekdays, they often schedule PFA hearings for specific days of the week. Presently, in order to maintain emergency relief, the domestic violence victim must return to court multiple times until a final hearing occurs in the Court of Common Pleas.
This new legislation would allow the Court of Common Pleas to adopt a rule to extend the time period for emergency orders. Under the bill, instead of expiring at the end of the next business day, emergency relief would expire upon the commencement of a hearing in the Court of Common Pleas within 10 business days. A petitioner may still request a temporary order from the Common Pleas Court at any time prior to the final hearing.
Forcing victims of domestic violence to repeatedly ask for emergency PFA orders is an unnecessary burden, and this practice must end. The legislation that I have proposed along with Senator Gordner will make it easier for victims to get the protection they need for as long as they need it during an extremely dangerous period in their lives.
More information about my PFA legislation can be found HERE.
Spotlight on Wawa
There is no business more iconic in our area than Wawa. I recently toured their corporate headquarters, located in Chester Heights Borough on Baltimore Pike.
Give Veterans a Smile Day
On Tuesday, I visited Community Volunteers in Medicine in West Goshen Township for their Give Veterans a Smile Day. CVIM provides free healthcare to struggling families in our area, and they are one of the largest free clinics in the entire country. It was wonderful to see them help our veterans with free dental care. Volunteer physicians, dentists, nurses, students and others provided medical services during 45,830 office visits last year at CVIM. This organization plays a critically important role in our community, and I am tremendously thankful for all of the work they do to assist families in need.
Bullying Awareness Month
When you get to know each other and learn all about each other, then you also learn something else – you learn not to bully each other. I visited Sarah Starkweather Elementary School to talk to Mr. Ambrosino’s 4th-grade class about my Senate Resolution designating November as Bullying Awareness Month.
You can read about my visit in this Daily Local News article HERE.
Veteran’s Appreciation Breakfast
Representative Steve Barrar and I partnered with Boy Scout Troop 260 of Concordville to put on a Veterans Appreciation Breakfast attended by more than 300 veterans. These patriots made great sacrifices to serve their country and we owe them a tremendous debt of gratitude.
Historic Election Reform Vote
In my last e-newsletter, I discussed Pennsylvania’s historic new election reform law, which I was proud to co-sponsor. Beginning next year, voters will have the option to vote by mail whenever they’d like, more time will be given to register to vote before an election and more time will be given for mailed ballots to be received by election officials. These are just a few of the important changes to our voting system.
Following up on this topic, you will find a recent guest column I wrote on the election reform law HERE.
PA Home Energy Assistance Program Accepting Applications
Enter your fuel type and county into the LIHEAP Benefit Table to access the benefit amount by household size. You do not have to be on public assistance or have an unpaid heating bill to be eligible.
Do You Need Real ID?
Do you need to use the Real ID in Pennsylvania that became effective on October 1, 2020? Do you typically fly for the holidays and vacations? Does your job require flying? Will you need to access services inside a federal courthouse or military installation?
Consult the list of Frequently Asked Questions to determine your needs and required documents to obtain a federally accepted Real ID. The Real ID online wizard can help you decide your need to apply. Those with a U.S. Passport, military ID, or other federally-accepted forms of ID may board a commercial flight or visit a secure federal building on or after October 1, 2020.
If you will require a Real ID, begin by selecting from each subcategory of documents for required proof to obtain a Real ID:
Applicants may pre-verify documents, apply online if verification is complete, or go to one of eleven Real ID Centers located across the state to have verification completed and receive a Real ID at the time of service. Locate a convenient Driver License Center that will accept and process your documents to receive your Real ID within 15 days, according to PennDOT.
Prepare Now for Ice and Snow
Organize and refresh your vehicle’s emergency travel kit. Replace flashlight and radio batteries, bottled water, and other items with a shelf life. Ensure gloves, warm clothing, and blankets are included.
Get your vehicle winter road-.ready before the first flakes fall. Regularly check fluids, wipers, heater, defroster, radio, lights, tires, and brakes, along with the battery, hoses, and belts.
Gain easy access to traffic delay warnings, weather forecasts, traffic speed information, and a live view of the roads from more than 850 traffic cameras accessible through 511PA. Snow plow locations can help you determine conditions before leaving your driveway. Download the iPhone or Android version of 511PA to help you with your year round travel needs.
Assistance for Veterans
I partner with the Pennsylvania American Legion every month to assist local veterans at my Brookhaven office. A representative from this organization will be helping veterans with issues on:
Date: Wednesday, November 27th
Time: 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m.
Location: Senator Killion’s Brookhaven Office, 4110 Edgmont Avenue, Brookhaven, PA
I encourage veterans and their families who have questions about benefits and programs to schedule an appointment during these assistance hours. Appointments can be made by contacting my office at (610) 447 – 3163. This service is offered the fourth Wednesday of each month.
Always Here to Help
My offices provide many services to families in our area. Here are some of the ways we can help.
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