Conklin calls for monitoring of domestic abusers

Says proposed bill could save lives, protect families

STATE COLLEGE, Feb. 3 – Spurred by the tragic murder of a family friend in 2013, state Rep. Scott Conklin, D-Centre, is proposing legislation that would permit the electronic monitoring of people who have a protection from abuse order filed against them.

“Nearly half of the United States already permit the electronic monitoring of abusers in cases of domestic violence, but Pennsylvania isn’t one of those states,” Conklin said. “I believe that if this was the law in Pennsylvania, it very well could have saved the life of a close family friend of mine and the lives of other victims who are suffering at the hands of abusers.”

In 2013 Traci Ann Raymond Miscavish was shot to death by her estranged husband who, despite a PFA, had threatened repeatedly to take her life.

“In 2018 we passed Act 79, which requires a person subject to a PFA to relinquish their firearms. While that was a great first step in protecting victims, the law does not reduce the threat of additional violence toward the victim,” Conklin said.

Further, recent federal court decisions, including a circuit court ruling that declared unconstitutional a federal law making it a crime for people under domestic violence restraining orders to own firearms, appear to be eroding the existing protections for domestic violence victims. Decisions like the court’s, Conklin said, only underline the need for the state legislature to act on his proposed legislation.

“Nothing we do will bring back my family friend, but we may be able to save the life of someone else,” Conklin sad. “I believe that if Traci’s husband had been ordered to wear a GPS monitoring device when the PFA order became final on Feb. 5, 2013, Traci may be alive today.

“I plan to reintroduce this legislation not just for her -- but for all of the victims of domestic violence who, whether they have a PFA or not, are living under the constant threat and fear of violence.”