HARRISBURG – March 27, 2019 – The Senate Judiciary Committee approved both Marsy’s Law (SB149) and Karen’s Law (SB123), Sen. John Sabatina (D-Philadelphia) announced. Both bills passed unanimously, 12-0. They now head to the full senate for consideration.

“Both of these laws support victims of crimes,” Sabatina said. “This legislative progress sends a message to Pennsylvanians that we’re not only tough on crime but caring of the experience of the victims of those crimes.” 

Marsy’s law would make victim’s rights constitutional.

“Marsy’s Law would provide victims standing in a court of law,” Sabatina said. “They deserve to be notified when a plea deal is arranged by a district attorney, they should be welcomed at the sentencing hearing as well as being able to collect restitution. Marsy’s Law provides that for us. Pennsylvania will be a state where crime victims receive their fair share of rights and protections.”

Karen’s Law would affect parole eligibility for sexually violent predators, increasing the time between parole hearings from one year to three years.

“Named after Karen Widdoss-Milewski, a constituent and survivor of violent crime, I introduced Karen’s Law to limit the parole re-application process for sexually violent predators,” Sabatina said. “This will provide much-needed protections for victims of sexually violent crimes and works to combat the re-victimization of survivors.” 

Under Karen’s Law, the Pennsylvania Board of Probation and Parole would not be required to review parole applications of those convicted of sexually violent crimes until three years after their most recent parole application. It is supported by the Pennsylvania Coalition Against Rape, the Pennsylvania Coalition Against Domestic Violence, the Radar Project, the Women’s Center of Montgomery County, Woman Organized Against Rape (WOAR), Pennsylvania Office of Victim Advocate, Pennsylvania FOP and Pennsylvania District Attorneys Association, and countless survivors of violent crime.

If both the Senate and the House pass Marsy’s Law it will go the voters as a ballot referendum.