As we approach the Tuesday, Nov. 5, Election, remember that voters will be deciding whether to make Marsy’s Law part of the state Constitution. Marsy’s Law would create a victims bill of rights.

My legislation, House Bill 276, laid the groundwork for Marsy’s Law to be on ballots. If voters approve Marsy’s Law, victims would be guaranteed the right to receive notification of proceedings in their criminal cases, the right to be present at court hearings, the right to be heard in court, and the right to be treated with fairness, respect and dignity.

Marsy’s Law would not take away the rights of the accused.

The Ballot question states: Shall the Pennsylvania Constitution be amended to grant certain rights to crime victims, including to be treated with fairness, respect and dignity; considering their safety in bail proceedings; timely notice and opportunity to take part in public proceedings; reasonable protection from the accused; right to refuse discovery requests made by the accused; restitution and return of property; proceedings free from delay; and to be informed of these rights, so they can enforce them?

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,” said Rep. Sheryl Delozier (R-Cumberland), who sponsored House Bill 276.

Domestic Violence/Sexual Assault Resources

Domestic Violence Services of Cumberland and Perry Counties

Harrisburg Area YWCA Violence Intervention and Prevention Services

Sexual Assault/Rape Crisis Services of Cumberland County

Pennsylvania Office of Victim Advocate