Planning a Legislative Visit

Here are several examples of forms that can be used to plan a lobby visit with a Legislator, Congressperson, or staff member:

US Criminal Justice Legislation - 2019-2020

Lehigh Valley - Congressional Represenatatives
  • HR-771 - Higher Education Act (HEA). This bill, which re-authorizes funding for higher education needs to include lifting the ban on Pell Grants for incarcerated people.
    See this commentary (from FCNL)

Pennsylvania Criminal Justice Legislation - 2019-2020

Pennsylvania Legislators representing the Lehigh Valley
  • SB-135 / HB-135 - Parole eligibility for life sentences
    Also see Campaign against Life-without-Parole sentencing (CADBI).
  • SB-14 - reform length of probation and the time served in prison for probation violations. In June 2020, this bill was amended so that overall it would worsen Pennsylvania's terrible probation system. For details, see this ACLU-PA commentary
  • HB-1555 (Probation and Parole "reform"). HB-1555 started out as weaker version of SB-14, but was amended by the House Judiciary Committee on Dec. 9, 2019, so that it is no longer a reform bill. See this ACLU press release and other commentary.
  • SB-832 and HB-497 - Limit solitary confinement
    Also see PA Council of Churches commentary and Abolitionist Law Center - PA cases
  • SB-637 and HB-1477 - reform PA occupational licensure laws (see this description)
    SB-637 passed the Senate unanimously on Nov. 21, 2019. In June 2020, the House approved SB-637 with amendments; the Senate approved the amended bill on June 24, 2020, and it was signed by Governor Wolf. See this report for a summary of the law's provisions.
  • SB-459 - requires police departments to track and report all instances of police use of force to the state police, who would make an annual report to the attorney general and legislature. (Unanimously approved by Senate on June 24, 2020; awaiting action by House Judiciary Committee.)
  • SB-474 - regarding pre-sentencing risk assessment
  • SB-1205 - requires all local police departments to create and post online a use-of-force policy and would limit use of chokeholds. (Unanimously approved by Senate on June 24, 2020; awaiting action by House Judiciary Committee.)
  • HB-1841 - create a statewide database of police misconduct records and require employers to share employment information with a law enforcement agency conducting a background check of a job applicant. (Unanimously approved by General Assembly; signed by Gov. Wolf on July 14, 2020).
  • HB-1910 - strengthen police training in interacting with people of diverse racial, ethnic and economic backgrounds, recognizing implicit bias, child abuse and and use of appropriate force. The bill would also improve access to mental health evaluations and require screenings for post traumatic stress disorder. (Unanimously approved by General Assembly; signed by Gov. Wolf on July 14, 2020).
  • SB-69 - end incarceration of indigent unable to pay fines, fees, or restitution

  • Pennsylvania Dignity Act (a package of eight bills)
    These would help restore dignity to incarcerated women by providing free access to: necessary hygiene products such as tampons and pads, communication resources for maintaining crucial support systems outside of prison, trauma informed care, mentorship opportunities focused on development, and more.
    • HB 1011: PCCD Women and Girls Subcommittee
    • HB 1012: Healthcare Screenings
    • HB 1008: Feminine Hygiene Products
    • HB 999: Mentorship Program
    • HB 1015: Social Services Enrollment
    • HB 1007: Free Phone Calls & Emails
    • HB 1009: Alternative Housing for Parenting Women
    • HB 1014: Trauma Informed Care

  • HB-961 - 100% Fair Public School Funding - would provide about $3,800 additional per child for Allentown School District (ASD)

Proposed Legislation (not yet introduced, seeking co-sponsors):

ACLU-PA (American Civil Liberties Union)

ACLU Bill Tracker

ACLU tracks Pennsylvania bills on several topics related to criminal justice, including
  • Criminal Justice Reform
  • Death Penalty
  • Drug Policy Reform
  • Due Process
  • Police Practices
  • Prisoner's Rights
  • Racial Justice
The bill tracker includes a summary of the bill's provisions, it's status in the legislative process, ACLU's position (for or against the bill), and sometimes other commentaries. (Use the pull-down menu to see bills on a specific topic.)

Amnesty International (USA)

Death Penalty

Solitary Confinement

Pennsylvania Council of Churches - Ministry of Public Advocacy

PACC/MPA website has information about legislation, educational resources, and advocacy on many different topics, including these:

Criminal Justice

State Innovation Exchange (SiX)

SiX, which prepares model legislation for state legislators, is intended to be a progressive alternative to the corporate-funded ALEC (American Legislative Exchange Council). SiX is focusing on two areas of legislation: Carbon Reduction and Criminal Justice Reform.

Criminal Justice Model Legislation

  • Repeal Stand Your Ground
  • Electronic Recording of Interrogations
  • Prohibit Profiling
  • Bail Reform

NPR commentary about SiX

For other resources, see POWER Lehigh Valley - End Mass Incarceration

Last Updated: 7/4/2020
Created: July 17, 2019