Harrisburg – March 21, 2018 – State Sen. Jay Costa (D-Allegheny) released the following statement on the domestic violence package that passed today in the senate:

Earlier today, the Senate moved to prevent domestic violence and protect its victims.


Among these bills are provisions that would expedite the surrender of an abuser’s firearms; make it easier to extend a PFA once an abuser is released from jail; and allow judges to use a risk assessment tool when setting bail in a case of domestic violence.

The bipartisan package of bills expands beyond the criminal justice system, into the day-to-day lives of domestic violence victims. Today’s measures would allow domestic violence victims residing in public housing to be relocated to another unit; and another would improve the process for removing an abuser from a shared telephone plan.

In addition, the Senate previously passed Alina’s Law, which would allow judges to require electronic monitoring of an abuser under a PFA.

I sincerely believe the bills we’ve been working on can drastically improve the lives of those are suffering from domestic violence, and I hope to see their speedy passage in the House.

The full package of domestic violence bills includes:

  • SB 196 (Hughes) – Amends Title 23 to allow a judge to require electronic monitoring of a person under a PFA. To be referred to as “Alina’s Law” in memory of the Pitt student murdered by her boyfriend last year.

  • SB 313 (Boscola) – Amends Title 23 to allow for the transfers of a wireless telephone number to a domestic violence victim.

  • SB 449 (Bartolotta) – Amends Title 18 to allow for risk assessment tools to be used by district magistrates in determining the level of danger that an offender poses.

  • SB 500 (Vulakovich) – Amends Title 23 to require law enforcement personnel to accompany a domestic violence victim to their home when serving a PFA.

  • SB 501 (Killion) – Amends Titles 18 and 23 to require the surrender of firearm when a PFA is imposed, limits third party safekeeping as an option in domestic violence cases, and significantly reducing the time period for a gun to be surrender from 60 days to 48 hours in criminal domestic violence situations.

    • Current law only requires the surrender of a firearm used to threaten a victim if there is a court order. This only happens in 14% of current PFA cases. The bill will require the mandatory surrender of all firearms by a domestic violence offender. 
    • Changes current law that allows family and friends to hold surrendered weapons during the period of a PFA to only allowing law enforcement, licensed gun dealers, and attorneys.
  • SB 502 (McGarrigle) – Amends Title 23 to allow for the automatic extension of a PFA by 90 days from the time a person is released from jail.

  • SB 919 (Haywood) – Amends the Housing Authorities Law to allow for a victim of domestic violence to request and be assured of relocation within public housing facilities.

Penn Hills Rising Community Census