Legislation, HB 2400, that updates the Pennsylvania Wiretap Act to reflect advances in technology is almost certain to become law in the next few weeks, according to House Judiciary Committee Chairman Ron Marsico, R-Dauphin.

Among other things, HB 2400 addresses wiretaps of criminals who use disposable phones and permits victims and witnesses to record communications to protect against or obtain evidence of a crime of violence.

The new law will also allow for “target-specific” wiretaps where authorities are permitted to apply for a single authorization that would follow the target, not a particular location or phone number

Governor Tom Corbett is also expected to sign HB 235, the National Human Trafficking Resource Center Hotline Notification Act. The bill will require designated establishments to post at least one sign, in various languages, in a manner clearly visible to the public and employees and include the hotline phone number.

Marsico said studies have shown that Pennsylvania’s interstate highway system, truck stops and transient truckers make it a pass-through state for human trafficking.

“Evidence suggests that Pennsylvania also is a source and destination for victims,” Marsico said.

Corbett is also expected to sign legislation, HB 898, that imposes a minimum five-year sentence for those who repeatedly engage in so-called “straw purchasing” — buying firearms and selling them to those forbidden to possess them.

Finally, HB 135 will reinvest savings from the recently enacted prison reform law, Act 112, and streamline Pennsylvania Commission on Crime and Delinquency processes. This legislation is a key component of the Justice Reinvestment Initiative, as it authorizes the reinvestment of 25 percent of the savings under Act 112 to programs that would further help public safety efforts and lower rates of recidivism.

— John L. Kennedy, for the Law Weekly