Judiciary Committee Moves Legislation to Expand Safe Places for the Relinquishment of Newborns, Says Marsico
HARRISBURG – The House Judiciary Committee, chaired by Rep. Ron Marsico (R-Dauphin), approved legislation today that would expand the places at which newborns may be left by a parent who wishes to relinquish them.

“This issue is very near and dear to my heart. Fifteen years ago, I sponsored the original law to give parents a safe place to leave their newborns, if necessary. I wrote that bill in response to the tragic death of Baby Mary, who was murdered and left in a dumpster by her mother in 2001,” said Marsico. “I am very happy to say that this law has been a success. Thirty-three lives have been saved, so far. And I am confident that with this addition to the existing law, even more babies will be safely rescued.”

House Bill 1139 would amend the Newborn Protection Act in order to allow an emergency services provider on the grounds of a fire station or other entity to accept a newborn from a parent who wishes to relinquish the newborn. The bill would also allow hospitals, police stations and entities employing emergency services providers to install incubators to accept newborns. Currently, Pennsylvania law permits the relinquishment of newborns to hospitals and police officers at police stations.

In addition to House Bill 1139, two other bills moved through the committee today.

House Bill 646 would add “health care practitioner in a health care facility” to the list of special classes under the Aggravated Assault statute. An aggravated assault of a person in a special classification elevates the grading of the crime.

House Bill 1523 amends the Law and Justice Code regarding the collection, analysis and use of DNA identification samples, and storage of DNA profiles in the State DNA Database for comparison with DNA profiles collected during criminal investigations. Currently, DNA identification samples are to be collected from criminal defendants upon conviction or adjudication of delinquency for felonies. The bill amends the law by expanding post-conviction DNA identification to include misdemeanors of the first degree and certain misdemeanors of the second degree.

All three bills will now go to the full House for consideration.

Representative Ronald Marsico
105th District
Pennsylvania House of Representatives

Media Contact: Autumn R. Southard, 717.652.3721

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