Legislation sponsored by Rep. Aaron Bernstine (R-Beaver/Butler/Lawrence) that would focus on the parole process for violent offenders was vetoed today by Gov. Tom Wolf.
“I am upset, disappointed and disgusted with the governor’s decision to veto this important, commonsense legislation,” said Bernstine. “This bill would have kept the most dangerous inmates from a premature release in order to protect our Commonwealth residents and would have saved Markie’s life.”
House Bill 146
, or Markie’s Law, was named after Markie Mason, an 8-year-old boy who was brutally stabbed to death by a man who was paroled at the end of his minimum sentence for homicide, even after being convicted of committing two separate assaults of other inmates while in prison.
The bill would postpone consideration of a violent inmate’s parole an additional 24 months following the inmate’s minimum release date for each conviction of a violent offense while incarcerated. In addition, it would suspend consideration of an inmate’s parole an additional 12 months if the inmate attempts to escape, smuggles contraband, or retaliates or intimidates witnesses while incarcerated.
In his veto message, the governor called the legislation “misguided and does not promote public safety.”
Bernstine disagrees with Wolf. “Had this animal who murdered Markie Mason remained behind bars, he would still be alive today. How does this bill not promote public safety? The legislation is all about keeping criminals locked up so they can’t be harmful to society.”
Markie’s Law passed the Senate by a 41-9 vote and then the House voted 133-69 to concur with changes made by the Senate to the original bill.
Bernstine said he will continue his fight to protect the public from violent offenders.
Representative Aaron Bernstine
10th Legislative District
Pennsylvania House of Representatives
Media Contact: Rick Leiner
717.260.6437 (office), 717.497.8478 (cell)