ACLU-PA Position: Supports
SB 1119, SB 1120, and SB 1128 comprise a 3-bill package in response to court closures following Governor Wolf’s March 6th COVID-19 Disaster Declaration. Each of the three bills correspond to general statewide judicial emergency orders issued by the Pennsylvania Supreme Court on March 18, 2020, along with supplemental orders issued on March 24th and April 1st. Adding these provisions to the statute would simplify these processes by establishing the court's temporary measures immediately, which would then be automatically implemented during any future judicial emergencies. These bills would protect people's due process rights and would prevent the court or commonwealth from imposing penalties for delays caused by court closures.
- SB 1119 would suspend all time calculations relevant to court cases and would provide additional time for the filing of any necessary pleadings or other judicial business through April 30, 2020.
- SB 1120 would extend the amount of time individuals have to respond to a citation or to pay fines, costs, or restitution In-person payments would not be mandatory and if a payment is missed, a court hearing must be held to determine if a default has occurred.
- SB 1128 would limit the ability of the Commonwealth to suspend a license during the emergency declaration. Licenses could not be suspended until the court holds a hearing and a decision is rendered.