Today the U.S. Justice Action Network, the largest bipartisan organization working to reform the justice system in Pennsylvania and around the country, thanks the Pennsylvania Senate for taking the first step towards protecting Pennsylvanians’ due process and property rights. Legislation that updates the state’s civil asset forfeiture laws (SB 8) passed the Senate with a strong bipartisan vote of 39-10.
SB 8 would move Pennsylvania closer to a smarter forfeiture system by providing more protections for property owners, and increasing the burden of proof placed on the Commonwealth when they seek to forfeit property. This legislation also provides procedures for Pennsylvanians to get their property back pre-forfeiture when its loss would prove a hardship.
Holly Harris, Executive Director, U.S. Justice Action Network: “In today’s political climate, its refreshing to see Republicans and Democrats work together towards the goal of restoring Pennsylvanians’ constitutional rights. We thank Senator Mike Folmer and Senator Joe Scarnati for their tireless advocacy on behalf of Pennsylvania property owners, as well as the bipartisan Senators who approved this measure, led by John Sabatina, and Lisa Boscola.
“Senators who voted for this bill voted with their constituents. Eighty-four percent of Pennsylvania voters, including 80% of Republicans and 87% of Democrats, believed it was time for civil asset forfeiture reforms in their state. This bill is a positive first step that will begin to provide more protections for property owners and it’s past time that the state take action. We urge the House to pass this bill swiftly and send to the Governor’s desk.”