Updated 5:20 p.m. April 11
The Pennsylvania House voted Wednesday to reinstate mandatory minimum sentences for crimes including possession of drugs, violent offenses against children and seniors and failing to register as a sex offender.
The bill, introduced by Republican Rep. Todd Stephens of Montgomery County, passed the House 122-67 and now moves to the Senate. Rep. Dom Costa, who was once Pittsburgh’s police chief, is a co-sponsor and supporter of the bill, but Pittsburgh’s other Democratic representatives — including Dan Frankel, Ed Gainey and Jake Wheatley — are not.
In a statement, Frankel noted that the bill did not go through the hearing process and said “mandatory minimum sentences disproportionately affect minorities and those unable to afford the best representation. These sentences tie the hands of judges and remove any discretion for the judge to fully consider all of the aspects of a given case, including the wishes of a victim, who may actually prefer leniency in some cases.”