Senate Passes SB 8 (Asset Forfeiture Reform)

(Harrisburg) – Today, the Senate of Pennsylvania overwhelmingly passed Senator Mike Folmer (R-48) and Senator Joe Scarnati’s (R-25) Senate Bill 8, to reform Pennsylvania’s Asset Forfeiture Law.

“Senate Bill 8 makes significant and unprecedented asset forfeiture reforms,” Senator Folmer said.  “This is a first step towards smarter forfeiture practices and to provide at least some level of due process for property owners.”  

Key Reforms in SB 8 Include: 

  • Higher burdens of proof imposed on the Commonwealth.
  • Protections for third party owners by placing additional burdens of proof on the Commonwealth.
  • Improved transparency in auditing and reporting at both the county and state levels.
  • Specific and additional protection in real property cases by prohibiting the pre-forfeiture seizure of real property without a hearing.
  • Additional procedural protections for property owners, such as returning property to the forfeiture proceeding if there is undue hardship, and an extra level of protection for anyone acquitted of a related crime who is trying to get their property back.

“Today the Senate has advanced Senate Bill 8, which will take a positive step forward to increase transparency of how forfeited funds are used, as well as raising the burden of proof required to seize assets,” Senate President Pro Tempore Joe Scarnati said.  “I am pleased to work with Senator Folmer on this issue, and hope that our colleagues in the House of Representatives will take up this important legislation in the near future.”

“I thank my Senate leadership for helping this important legislation move forward, as well as all the groups who worked tirelessly on these reforms,” Folmer said.

Senate Bill 8 will now go to the Pennsylvania House of Representatives for further consideration.

Listen to Senator Folmer’s remarks on the Senate Floor