Scarnati Introduces Legislation to Protect Communities from Sex Offenders

(HARRISBURG) – Legislation to further strengthen laws to protect communities from sex offenders has been introduced in the State Senate, according to Senator Joe Scarnati (R-25).

Scarnati, who introduced Senate Bill 557, explained that the bill requires the Department of Human Services (DHS) to annually inspect and license group-based homes, which provide residence to three or more individuals who are required by law to register as sex offenders under “Megan’s Law”.

“Currently there is no State law requiring these facilities to be licensed or inspected by any state agency,” Scarnati stated.  “Ensuring that there is state oversight of these homes by DHS will help to better protect residents across our Commonwealth.  The health and safety of our communities must be our top priority.”  

Scarnati noted that in addition to requiring licensing and annual inspections of such facilities, Senate Bill 557 will grant DHS the authority to promulgate regulations setting minimum health and safety standards for such group-based homes.  DHS would also have the ability to refuse to grant or revoke a license for any facility which does not adhere to these minimum requirements.

“By nature, facilities that host numerous convicted sexual predators present a danger to the general public,” Scarnati stated.  “Requiring such facilities to be licensed and inspected will go a long way toward ensuring government fulfills its duty to protect the health and wellbeing of its residents to the greatest extent possible.”

Senate Bill 557 has been referred to the Senate Health & Human Services Committee.          

CONTACT:   Kate Eckhart – (717) 787-7084