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PA Lawmakers Pass Clean Legislation Ensuring Vital Protections for Domestic Violence Survivors

October 16, 2014

For Immediate Release: Thursday, October 16, 2014

Contact: Laura Brandon, laura.brandon@berlinrosen.com, 202-641-8477

(Philadelphia) — After a bipartisan bill to protect domestic violence victims stalled for months, the PA Senate passed a clean version of the bill without an amendment that would have banned local communities in Pennsylvania from deciding on paid and unpaid leave laws for themselves. The PA Coalition for Healthy Families and Workplaces released the following statement applauding Senate passage of the original bill, HB 1796.

“We’re delighted to see that our Senators prevailed over the tactics of corporate lobbyists and donors who tried to hijack a non-controversial bill protecting domestic violence victims, ” said Marianne Bellesorte of PathWays PA. “We applaud the leadership of the domestic violence groups and other advocates for ensuring these corporate lobbyists didn’t get away with trying to sneak a controversial preemption bill through the legislature by hitching it to a good bill to protect those who experience domestic violence.”

“We ask that legislators put their energy behind passing – not preventing – earned sick days legislation statewide. Earned sick days help strengthen families and the economy. The policy keeps working Pennsylvanians from having to choose between going to work sick or losing a day’s wages – or worse, a job. Instead of undermining democracy and local control, we need to work toward solutions that help – not hurt – our state’s working families.”

HB 1796 ensures victims of domestic violence don’t lose their homes due to a current law that allows landlords to evict tenants who call the police a certain number of times. The original bill enjoys broad support and passed the State Assembly unanimously.

After several failed attempts to pass paid sick days preemption as a standalone bill, some legislators added a preemption amendment in committee to this unrelated domestic violence bill. But the amendment was so outrageous that even domestic violence groups were calling for a “no” vote on the entire bill, unless that amendment was removed.

Specifically, the amendment would have preempted local governments from enacting new laws to:

  • Guarantee workers access to paid sick days;
  • Provide unpaid leave for domestic violence victims; and
  • Ensure leave for parents to care for sick kids.