HARRISBURG – The Senate has passed legislation authored by Rep. Sheryl Delozier (R-Cumberland) to seek voters’ approval on providing crime victims with a bill of their rights in the Pennsylvania Constitution.
House Bill 276 would change the state Constitution and ensure crime victims receive information about their rights; receive notification of proceedings in their criminal cases; be present at court hearings; be heard at plea and sentencing proceedings; and be treated with fairness, respect and dignity.
Since it is a constitutional change, the language in Marsy’s Law legislation needed to pass in two consecutive sessions of the Pennsylvania General Assembly (first as Senate Bill 1011 and now as House Bill 276). It can now be placed as a referendum question on ballots for voters to decide.
Voters will choose whether to make this change to the Constitution in the November 2019 election.
“I’m grateful the House and Senate have supported this effort to give victims constitutional protections. We want victims to have a voice in the criminal justice system,” Delozier said.
Marsy’s Law is named after Marsalee “Marsy” Nicholas of California. She was stalked and killed by her ex-boyfriend in 1983, then, just days later, her mother and brother were confronted by the accused murderer in a grocery store. They were unaware the defendant had been released on bail.
To honor his sister, Henry Nicholas has made it his life’s mission to give victims and their families constitutional protections and equal rights.
“Victims and their families deserve to be informed and heard as part of restorative justice,” Delozier said.
The Senate passed House Bill 276
on Wednesday on a 50-0 vote. The House passed it 190-8 in April.
Representative Sheryl Delozier
Pennsylvania House of Representatives
Media Contact: Jennifer Fitch