PA: Testimony on House Hearing on HB 77: Megan’s Law Residence Restrictions

Source: aclupa.org 9/12/23

Session: 2023-2024

Hearing: House Judiciary Committee | Hearing on HB 77: Megan’s Law residence restrictions

September 12, 2023 | 1:00 p.m.

Veronica Miller, Senior Policy Counsel for Criminal Legal Reform, testified on behalf of the ACLU of Pennsylvania.

To watch the hearing or read testimonies of all participants, click here.

Bill summary: House Bill 77 would prohibit an individual classified as a sexually violent predator (SVP) from residing within 2,500 feet of a public school, private school, parochial school or daycare center for the duration of their required registration period. For anyone classified as an SVP, this would be a lifetime prohibition. Additionally, the legislation would require any SVP currently living within the prohibited zone to move from the residence within six months of enactment.

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I know this PA / PARSOL case has been posted and discussed before, but I had never seen the detailed ACLU-PA testimony position paper. Although this has a lot of what we already know, I liked the official references and think it is well articulated and presented.

We need to get violent if …

[MODERATORS REMINDER TO EVERYONE: Everyone should re-read the guidelines shown about the comments form! People who use invalid email addresses or submit comment that do not follow guidelines (inciting violence, insulting other commenters, etc.) will be blocked]

I understand the concern regarding the housing of SVP’s. These people can sometimes be very scary, very dangerous people. But residency restrictions in any form are completely ineffective. Try to keep allegedly dangerous people from places where children congregate? Hah! These people have to eat and so they go to a grocery store or, heaven forbid, the super Walmart, in their area. Those places are loaded with kids. What about attending church? The state cannot prevent these people from freely exercising their religious beliefs. When I go to mass on Sunday I try to avoid the kids, not because of any risk to me but because kids are often noisy and annoying. Go into the minimart? Kids. Go to the movies? Kids. It’s an impossible goal and the law should not pretend it isn’t.

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This is just another reminder that the terrorists who are dangerous to Americans live right here in our country. We should never tolerate any terrorist who thinks “residency restrictions” should exist. Those terrorists are enemies commiting acts of war. Make them pay.