PA House Hearing Experts: Residency Restrictions Don’t Work

Back in March, we asked PARSOL Advocates supporters to take action and write to the House Judiciary Committee chairman about HB77. Today, the Committee held a public hearing on the merits of residency restrictions for some people forced to register under Pennsylvania’s ‘Megan’s Law’ (SORNA). 

The emails worked. 

Rather than not hold a hearing (our original ask), Chairman Timothy Briggs (D-Montgomery County) did better — he invited two panels of expert witnesses, including the ACLU of PA, two expert psychotherapists, the executive director of the Pennsylvania Sentencing Commission, and even two representatives from the Pennsylvania District Attorney’s Association. 

He also included PARSOL’s Memo/Talking Points on the subject in the committee materials for the day.

Every single witness said the same thing: Establishing residency restrictions is an ineffective means of protecting communities, families, and children… and here is the evidence to support our testimony.

PA Commission on Sentencing presented impact maps

The PA Sentencing Commission showed maps of where people would not be able to live if this bill became law. Here is the map provided of Harrisburg that shows that nearly all SVPs would have to move out to a rural area in the ‘middle of nowhere’ away from any resources or support they may need. The red circles show the areas where SVPs would be prohibited from living and must move out of within six months of passage. (The blue circles are 1,000 feet used for a previous argument.) 

Source: Pennsylvania Commission on Sentencing

The committee still needs to vote on the issue, but with the testimony of yesterday’s experts, we hope they will make the right decision and squash this bill. (If they don’t, we will definitely call them out for not listening to any of the six witnesses!)

In addition to PARSOL Advocates Chair and Legislative Director Randall Hayes, Josiah K. and Stew S. from our Legal & Legislative Affairs committee were in attendance. It was amazing to hear a panel of state-selected experts reaffirm what we have been saying all along.

Follow-up News Updates

Thank you for your ongoing support, we’ll keep you posted!

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PARSOL Advocates is a 501(c)4 social welfare affiliate of the Pennsylvania Association for Rational Sexual Offense Laws 501(c)3 organization. PARSOL Advocates organizes lobbying, grassroots lobbying, and other advocacy efforts.

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