Rep. McClinton applauds committee passage of important police and criminal justice reform bills; urges quick movement on House floor

HARRISBURG, June 16 – State Rep. Joanna McClinton (D-Phila), the House Democratic Caucus Chair, applauded the House Judiciary Committee for passing a series of important police and criminal justice reform bills on Monday. Two bills related to police hiring and training, and a third bill that will help citizens with past convictions return to the workforce all passed unanimously. 

“I want to thank my colleagues on the House Judiciary Committee for working in a thoughtful, bi-partisan manner to move these pivotal police and criminal justice reform bills forward,” McClinton said. “I’m proud to see the committee following part of the road map created by the PA Legislative Black Caucus and the Police Reform Working Group to get us to this point. Now I’m calling on House Republican Leadership to schedule these bills for a vote during the week of June 22 when we return to Harrisburg for voting session.”

The committee passed several important pieces of legislation at their meeting on Monday:

  • H.B. 1841 – Would require thorough background checks prior to the hiring of a police officer, as well as require the establishment and upkeep of a confidential database which will contain information about past criminal convictions/employment separations of police officers. Hiring departments would be expected to query this database prior to hiring a certified officer.
  • H.B. 1910 – Would require that police officers be trained on racial, ethnic, and economic diversity; implicit bias; recognizing and reporting child abuse; and annual training on the appropriate use of force. The bill also would increase access to officers’ mental health evaluations.
  • S.B. 637 – Would provide a pathway for individuals who have served their time for past criminal convictions to be licensed by the state for any number of required occupational licenses. It would specifically create a pathway for barbers and cosmetologists and allow for all other professional licensure boards to make similar exceptions for people who have completed their sentences.

“What we witnessed in committee on Monday proves that the peaceful protests throughout Philadelphia, the commonwealth, and the entire country have reached the eyes and ears of legislators in Harrisburg and we must now finish the work by passing these bills in the House and Senate and sending them to Governor Wolf for his signature,” McClinton said.

“Yesterday was the first step in that process. We need to see it through to the finish.”