Pa. House advances mandatory minimum sentencing bill

HARRISBURG, Pa. (WHTM) – The state House of Representatives has passed legislation to revise and restore mandatory minimum sentences that were struck down by the courts.

House Bill 741 would revive mandatory minimum sentences for crimes committed with a gun, assaults against children or the elderly, and drug trafficking crimes such as dealing to minors or selling in school zones.

Supporters say the bill addresses issues cited in 2015 by the state Supreme Court, which ruled most mandatory minimum sentences violated a defendant’s procedural right to have a jury determine facts affecting prison terms.

Democrats who voted against the measure say the mandatory minimum sentences would send more nonviolent offenders to prison and put the increased costs on taxpayers.

The bill now moves to the Senate for consideration.

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