HARRISBURG – Pennsylvania’s Megan’s Law is not affected by the state Supreme Court decision in Commonwealth v. Neiman, Reps. Ron Marsico (R-Dauphin County) and Tom Caltagirone (D-Berks County), the majority and minority chairmen of the House Judiciary Committee, said yesterday. Joining them was David Freed, Pennsylvania District Attorneys Association (PDAA) president.
The Pennsylvania Supreme Court ruled that a prior version of Megan’s Law was unconstitutional because its enactment violated the single subject rule.
In order to comply with new federal requirements, the Legislature worked with PDAA, Pennsylvania State Police and Juvenile Court Judges Commission in 2011 to modernize Megan’s Law. That 2011 legislation replaced the law that was before the court.
“In reality, virtually nothing has changed with regard to the registration requirements for those who commit sex offenses in Pennsylvania,” Freed said. “Because of the proactive work of the legislature, executive branch and law enforcement stakeholders, Megan’s Law is alive and well in Pennsylvania.”
“Last session, the House Judiciary Committee worked hand-in-hand with our colleagues across the aisle not only to craft an updated Megan’s Law, but to preemptively address the issues raised in this court case,” said Marsico. “Protecting the public, and especially our children, was always our first priority.”
“We were fully aware of this pending case when updating Megan’s law last session,” added Caltagirone. “Working together, we made certain to draft Pennsylvania’s new Megan’s law in a way to make sure that the public’s safety was always ensured, no matter what.”
Freed also cited an important footnote in the Supreme Court’s decision, which read “[o]ur decision affects only the version of Megan’s Law challenged by Appellant — Megan’s Law III. The legislature has subsequently repealed and reenacted various portions of that law, which took effect on Dec. 20, 2012.”
Pennsylvania will continue to have one of the strongest Megan’s Laws in the country, and prosecutors will continue to uphold the law, he said.