State Capitol Roundup


Hearing Held to Address Pennsylvania’s Heroin Epidemic

Members of the House Judiciary Subcommittee on Crime and Corrections held the first in a series of three regional public hearings in western Pennsylvania this week to focus on the law enforcement response to the state’s current heroin epidemic. Testimony was offered by state and local officials from the Pennsylvania Office of Drug and Alcohol Programs, Bureau of Narcotics Investigations, Office of Attorney General, and several district attorneys.

Earlier this year, the federal Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration collected data about heroin use for five years and used it to estimate heroin use by those age 12 and older throughout the country, state and more locally. Pennsylvania is the state with the third highest number of heroin users, with 40,000 statewide. 

House Approves Anti-Child Luring Legislation

The House recently approved a measure to increase the penalties for luring a young child into a motor vehicle or structure. House Bill 1594 would make the crime of luring a child a second-degree felony, punishable by up to 10 years in prison and a fine of up to $25,000. Currently, the offense is graded as a first-degree misdemeanor with a fine of $10,000. House Bill 1594 now heads to the Senate for consideration. 

Marking Fire Prevention Month

The House recently approved a resolution recognizing Pennsylvania Fire Prevention Month and National Fire Prevention Week. According to the National Fire Protection Association, U.S. fire departments responded to 370,000 home structure fires in 2011, resulting in 2,520 civilian deaths and nearly $7 billion in damages.

To ensure proper fire safety and prevention, it is important to keep in mind the following tips:

• Have working smoke detectors on every level of the home that are tested monthly and kept free of dust. Batteries should be changed at least once a year.

• Never overload circuits or extension cords. Do not place cords and wires under rugs, over nails or in high traffic areas. Immediately shut off and unplug appliances that sputter, spark or emit an unusual smell. Have them professionally repaired or replaced.

• Practice an escape plan from every room in the house. Caution everyone to stay low to the floor when escaping from fire and never to open doors that are hot. Select a location where everyone can meet after escaping the house. Get out first, and then call for help.

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