My Bill to Combat ‘Squatters’ Passes the Judiciary Committee
5/17/2019
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Legislative Update

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 The latest news from the State Capitol


My Bill to Combat ‘Squatters’ Passes the Judiciary Committee

I’m pleased to announce that my legislation to help homeowners combat illegal squatters has passed the House Judiciary Committee.

Imagine returning to a property you own—Could be your primary residence or maybe it’s a rental property or a second home—only to discover people have illegally moved in.

Then imagine calling the police to have the squatters removed and being told that there’s nothing they can do.

Unfortunately, this is a situation that happens in our city and Commonwealth.

The way the law is written now, when police come upon squatters and they claim to live there legally, it is essentially one person's word against another's. The police typically decline to get involved because they don’t know who to believe. Often, police have no other choice but to advise the owner to pursue a legal eviction action, which can be a financial and legal nightmare.

Under House Bill 365, if a police officer has “probable cause” to believe that a person is trespassing on residential property, the officer has the authority to remove the person from the premises.

Police must allow a reasonable opportunity for the person to secure and present any proof they may have that they are on the property legally before removing them.

Probable cause may be based on a signed affidavit from the property owner stating, among other things, that the person is not and was not in the past a tenant, and that the owner has demanded that the person vacate the premises.

This bill does not affect-- and is not affected by-- landlord-tenant disputes. Furthermore, any property owner making a false statement can be held criminally and civilly liable.

The bill now moves to the whole House for a vote.
                                   

Supporting Our National Guard Members and Their Families
Recognizing the sacrifices made by the families of PA National Guard Members, the House approved legislation to provide them with education benefits.

House Bill 1324 would extend our current Pennsylvania National Guard Military Education Program by including a Guard member’s spouse or child in this benefit program.

The benefit would pay for 10 semesters/quarters, or five years equivalent, at the Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education tuition rate.

The Guard member could earn these educational benefits for his or her spouse and/or children by committing to a second obligation of six years with the Pennsylvania National Guard. This would help retain current National Guard members and attract transitioning military service members to Pennsylvania while also supporting Guard families.

The bill now moves to the Senate for its consideration.
 

May is Mental Health Awareness Month
Working to support people struggling with depression or other mental health conditions, the House recently designated May as “Mental Health Awareness Month” in the Commonwealth.

Mental illness is not always visible, but it affects Pennsylvanians from all walks of life. This invisibility can make people feel isolated and unable to share their experiences.

Only about half of people impacted by mental illness seek treatment, and too many people struggle in silence. It is important that all Pennsylvanians understand mental illness is a biologically based disorder that requires medical attention.

You can learn more about mental health and services available in Pennsylvania by clicking here.
 

Fish for Free Next Weekend
 
If you’ve been thinking about trying fishing or wanting to introduce your child or a friend to the joys of fishing, you’ll have a great chance to do so next weekend!

The Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission will host the first of its two annual Fish for Free Days next Sunday, May 26.

On Fish for Free Days, anyone -- resident or non-resident -- can legally fish on all Pennsylvania waterways without a license.

All other fishing regulations will still apply.

For your convenience, there are even opportunities to borrow equipment from certain sites at state parks and other locations. You can find those locations by clicking here.

The second Fish for Free day is scheduled for Thursday, July 4, 2019.
 
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Harrisburg Office: B-13 Main Capitol Building, PO Box 202170, Harrisburg, PA 17120-2170  | (717) 787-6740
District Office:10752 Bustleton Ave., Suite C, Philadelphia, PA 19116  | (215) 330-3711
District Office: 10501 Academy Road, Unit E., Philadelphia, PA 19114 | (215) 632-3237
Email: Mwhite@pahousegop.com
     
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