Harrisburg, April 29, 2020 − Senator John Sabatina (D-Philadelphia) announced Karen’s Law is making progress through the legislature. Today, Sabatina and the Senate Judiciary Committee approved the House companion bill (HB-1538 – White) unanimously (14-0) after adding additional 1st degree felony offenders and wording that ensures an in-person hearing if the crime victim requests it.
“It’s good to see progress of this important legislation, which survivors of sexually violent crimes so desperately need,” Sabatina said. “This amendment that I and fellow members of the Judiciary Committee approved today further enhances its strength in favor of survivors.”
Karen’s Law would affect parole application eligibility for inmates deemed Sexually Violent Predators or sentenced under one of the violent or sexual offenses listed in the amended legislation, increasing the time between parole hearings from one year to three years.”
Sabatina thanked Rep. Martina White (R- Philadelphia) for sponsoring the House companion bill.
“It goes to show the bi-partisan nature of this law,” Sabatina said. “It’s been a pleasure to have Representative White join us in this effort.”
Karen’s law is named after Karen Widdoss-Milewski, a constituent of Senator Sabatina’s. It is supported by the Pennsylvania Coalition Against Rape, the Pennsylvania Coalition Against Domestic Violence, the Radar Project, the Women’s Center of Montgomery County, Woman Organized Against Rape (WOAR), Pennsylvania Office of Victim Advocate, Pennsylvania FOP and Pennsylvania District Attorneys Association, and countless survivors of violent crime.
“It’s been a couple of years since I first met Karen and heard her story,” Sabatina said. “It’s been quite a journey and we still have more to do. But this is another step towards combatting the re-victimization of survivors of sexually violent predators.”