Pennsylvania Toughens DUI Sentences

Pennsylvania state Reps. Craig Williams (R-Chadds Ford) and Chris Quinn (R-Media) on Friday lauded area lawmakers and activists for their work toward enactment of “Deana’s Law” which toughens drunk-driving sentences.

The new act is named after Deana DeRosa Eckman, a 45-year-old Delaware County resident who died in a February 2019 car collision caused by six-time Driving-Under-the-Influence (DUI) offender David Strowhouer in Upper Chichester Township. Strowhouer had a blood-alcohol content of 0.199, more than twice the level the commonwealth permits, and was driving 80 miles per hour before striking Eckman’s vehicle head-on. 

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Bill to Let State Attorneys Prosecute Philadelphia Gun Crimes Passes Pennsylvania House

Pennsylvania’s House of Representatives voted 151-49 Wednesday for legislation allowing state prosecutors to handle some of Philadelphia’s gun-related cases.

The bill would renew the state attorney general’s “concurrent jurisdiction” with the Philadelphia district attorney, letting the commonwealth shoulder part of the effort to prosecute firearm-related offenses in a city where many feel the job isn’t getting done.

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Pennsylvania House Committee Passes Prosecutorial Measures, Rebuking Krasner

On Tuesday, the Pennsylvania House Judiciary Committee approved term limits for the Philadelphia District Attorney as well as a bill allowing state prosecutors to pursue Philadelphia gun violations.

Both measures have the secondary effect of rebuking the performance of the city’s top prosecutor, Larry Krasner (D), under whose watch violence and crime have skyrocketed. In 2017, 315 murders occurred in Philadelphia and the number rose to an all-time high of 562 last year. Many attribute the increase in crime to Krasner’s tendency to release many defendants charged with illegal gun possession and violent offenses.

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Pennsylvania Bill Prohibiting Municipalities from Banning Natural Gas Passes State House

Legislation disallowing local bans on new buildings’ use of natural gas passed the Pennsylvania state House of Representatives Wednesday by a vote of 118 to 83. 

A number of major U.S. cities, including San Francisco, Seattle, Denver and New York, have prohibited the supply of natural gas to most new buildings. The sponsor of the Pennsylvania bill, Rep. Tim O’Neal (R-Washington) said that while local governments in the Keystone State haven’t yet officially barred the fuel’s use, some climate-action plans generated by state and local governments call for such measures. 

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Pennsylvania Bill Would Clarify That Courts Can’t Redraw Electoral Maps, as State Supreme Court Did in 2018

Legislation currently in the works in the Pennsylvania General Assembly would spell out two rules for redistricting in the Keystone State: Elections cannot legally take place in outdated districts and courts can’t create new districts themselves.

In Feb. 2018, the Democrat-controlled Pennsylvania Supreme Court not only struck down Pennsylvania’s congressional maps as unconstitutionally gerrymandered, it reimposed new maps created with no input from the legislature, something state law does not grant the court the right to do. The new maps strongly favored the Democrats’ electoral prospects.

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