Senator Farry E-Newsletter

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In this Update:

  • Press Conference to Unveil Legislation to Expand DNA Samples in PA Criminal Justice System
  • Two Neshaminy Girls Basketball Players Score 1,000 Career Points
  • Property Tax Rent Rebate – New Income Limits and Rebates
  • Save the Date – Shredding Event April 13
  • Follow Me on Facebook

Press Conference to Unveil Legislation to Expand DNA Samples in PA Criminal Justice System

Earlier this week at the Capitol, I hosted a press conference along with Reps. Hogan and Tomlinson on legislation that will expand the collection of DNA samples in Pennsylvania’s criminal justice system.

We were joined by Bucks County Sherrif Fred Harran, an advocate for the technology in law enforcement, and Ashley Spence, founder of the DNA Justice Project and a rape survivor.

This legislation, Senate Bill 1078, would expand the number of DNA samples in the criminal justice system by requiring post-arrest testing of anyone charged with a felony or certain misdemeanors.  This sample-taking would be much like the established process of taking an arrestee’s fingerprints.  Nineteen states currently collect post-arrest DNA samples.  In Maryland vs. King of 2013, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that police can routinely take DNA samples from people who are arrested but not yet convicted of a crime. 

The bill would also expand the collection of DNA samples for those offenders convicted of criminal homicide, which under Pennsylvania law are their own classification of crime and technically not classified as felonies. This legislation would close that loophole and require collection of DNA samples from these offenders to solve other cold case murders and crimes. It will also keep in mind the importance of conviction integrity served by advanced use of DNA identification. A sample can prove the innocence of someone else who has been incorrectly accused or convicted and imprisoned for a crime when the DNA ends up matching someone else.

Ashley Spence shared her story of surviving a violent assault and rape while attending college in Arizona in 2003. It was not until seven years later that she received a phone call that there was a DNA match in her case. While attempting to break into a home in California, her attacker was caught, resisted arrest and because that is a felony in California, his DNA was taken during the normal booking process. His DNA was later linked to several rapes across the country. Read more about Ashley’s story and the DNA Justice Project.

I commend Ashley for her bravery in sharing her story and her continued legislative advocacy for victims across our country.  This legislation, if passed, will convict more criminals and will be a critical tool in ensuring our communities are safe. View press conference here.

Two Neshaminy Girls Basketball Players Score 1,000 Career Points

From left to right- Reese Zemitis, Lola Ibarrondo, Natalie (office of Sen. Farry) and Tiffany (office of Rep. Hogan)  

Congratulations to Reese Zemitis and Lola Ibarrondo, for both surpassing 1,000 career points for Neshaminy High School Girls Basketball!

Before the team’s last game of the season, my staff member Natalie, presented a citation from the Senate of PA to both Reese and Lola honoring their outstanding achievements.  I was in Harrisburg and was unable to attend. 

On 12/13/23, senior co-captain Reese Zemitis scored her 1,000th point early in the second quarter of a home game vs Lansdale Catholic on an assist from Lola Ibarrondo.  Last week she broke the team’s single-game scoring record — one that she herself had previously set — when she scored 35 points in a win over Nazareth Academy. And in that same week, she became Neshaminy’s all-time scoring leader, scoring 27 points in a win over CR North.

On 1/30/24, senior co-captain Lola Ibarrondo scored her 1,000th point early in the first quarter of a home game vs Truman High School on an assist from Reese Zemitis.

Congratulations to the entire Neshaminy High School Girls Basketball team on clinching the division for the second year in a row. They will compete tonight at home against Abington High School for the first round of the The Suburban One League Tournament.  Good luck to them and all local high school teams competing in the playoffs this weekend.

Property Tax Rent Rebate – New Income Limits and Rebates

Nearly 175,000 additional Pennsylvanians are eligible for the Pennsylvania Property Tax/Rent Rebate Program this year due to the income cap increase to $45,000 for both homeowners and renters.  Only half of your Social Security income is included in calculations. Additionally, the maximum standard rebate on property taxes or rent paid increased to $1,000.

The program is open to state residents 65 and older, widows and widowers 50 or older, or anyone age 18 and over who is 100% disabled.

Our office can assist with applications.  If interested, please call our office and bring all proof of income, your ID and a voided check if you wish to have the rebate direct deposited. In addition, property owners must have paid property taxes stamped or signed by the tax collector. Renters must have a rent certificate filled out and signed by their landlord.

Call our office with any questions or to schedule an appointment.  Free state and federal tax forms are available in our office as well.

Save The Date – Shredding Event April 13

To help residents guard themselves against identity theft, Rep. Joe Hogan and I will be hosting a shredding event on Saturday April 13 from 9-11:30am in my office parking lot, located at 370 East Maple Avenue in Langhorne. 

Residents of the 6th Senate District are encouraged to bring documents that contain sensitive information to be thoroughly shredded. Please note the shredding event is for residents only and a two-box limit per household. Please no plastic bags as the machine will not allow.

Our staff will be on site to address any state-related issues or questions.  Please call our office with any questions.

Follow Me on Facebook

If you haven’t already, follow my page on Facebook @SenatorFarry for state and community info and updates.

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