New Pennsylvania laws you need to know about for 2024

This story originally appeared on 6abc.

A number of bills have been signed into law in recent months that are either in effect ahead of the New Year or will be shortly after 2024 begins in Pennsylvania.

The new laws cover a wide range of topics including probation reform, women’s health care, food safety, cybersecurity, religious garb in schools, voter registration and dog licenses.

Here’s what you need to know:

Crime and public safety

Probation reform

Gov. Shapiro signed what he calls ‘landmark probation reform and clean slate legislation’ that “will create more fairness in Pennsylvania’s criminal justice system, ensure probation serves as a tool to help Pennsylvanians re-enter their communities and pave the way for more Pennsylvanians to get second chances.”

Read more at legis.state.pa.us

‘Porch pirating’ a felony

A new law in Pennsylvania makes porch pirating a felony. There are now specific penalties for mail theft, including the theft of a package, bag or letter.

The new law focuses on repeat offenders and uses a grading system to increase penalties if the thief had prior mail theft convictions.

Read more at legis.state.pa.us

Retail theft crackdown

A new law establishes a Deputy Attorney General within the Attorney General’s Office whose job it will be to oversee a team of prosecutors who will be geographically placed throughout Pennsylvania to prosecute retail theft.

Read more at legis.state.pa.us

Lower fitness requirements for prospective police officers

A new law will lower the fitness requirements for prospective police officers. Currently, police academy applicants are required to score no lower than the 30th percentile in evaluations that include long- and short-distance runs, bench presses, and sit-ups. The new law reduces these requirements so that an applicant only has to score in at least the 15th percentile for these evaluations.

However, applicants would still be required to score no lower than the 30th percentile in order to be employed as a police officer.

Read more at legis.state.pa.us

Police applicant fingerprint checks

This new law gives the Municipal Police Officers’ Education and Training Commission (MPOETC) the statutory authority needed to conduct fingerprint-based criminal history checks for municipal police officer applicants.

See the text of the law at legis.state.pa.us

Treatment of incarcerated women

A new law covers a number of issues unique to women who are incarcerated. It includes a prohibition on shackling of pregnant women, a prohibition on the solitary confinement of pregnant women and full-body searches of female inmates by male guards.

It allows for three days of bonding time between incarcerated mothers and newborn children, ‘adequate’ visitation time between minor children and inmates (male or female) who were the sole legal guardians of those children at the time of arrest, feminine hygiene products at no cost, and limited coverage of cost to transport individuals to a safe location upon release.

Read more at legis.state.pa.us

Renewing and expanding automated enforcement programs

A new law eliminates the Feb. 2024 expiration date for the Automated Work Zone Speed Enforcement (AWZSE) program and the December 2023 expiration date for the Automated Speed Enforcement (ASE) program on Roosevelt Boulevard in Philadelphia.

It expands the ASE program to all roads in Philadelphia, contingent on PennDOT’s approval and the city’s adoption of a local ordinance, and makes necessary improvements to both the AWZSE and ASE programs.

It also fixes to current law authorizing school districts to use automated school bus stop-arm cameras and establishing a five-year pilot program for speed cameras in active school zones in Philadelphia.

Read more at legis.state.pa.us

School bus safety

Updates rules for automated enforcement for drivers who fail to stop for school buses with flashing red lights.

See the text of the law at legis.state.pa.us

Insurance data security

Under this new law, insurance entities would have to conduct a cybersecurity risk assessment, develop cybersecurity protocols, and report breaches to the Pennsylvania Insurance Department.

See the text of the law at legis.state.pa.us

Health

Fentanyl testing in hospitals

A new law requires general acute care hospitals to include testing for fentanyl in a urine drug screening if the hospital conducts a urine drug screening to assist in diagnosing the patient’s condition.

Read more at legis.state.pa.us

Enhanced coverage for breast cancer screenings

This new law will require insurers to cover preventive breast and ovarian cancer screenings for high-risk women at no cost. Gov. Josh Shapiro’s office said the law removes out-of-pocket costs associated with genetic testing for hereditary breast, ovarian, prostate and other cancer syndromes – as well as supplemental breast screenings for women with a high lifetime risk of breast cancer.

See the text of the law at legis.state.pa.us

  • December 28, 2023
  • Articles,
  • This post was written by