Harrisburg – Senator Doug Mastriano (PA-33) announced plans to introduce “Tyler’s Law” to target drug dealers who peddle fentanyl resulting in a fatal overdose.
Fentanyl is a powerful synthetic opioid analgesic like morphine but 50 to 100 times more potent. Fentanyl can be cut, colored, scored, and pressed to be sold as a counterfeit for other drugs. Just two milligrams of fentanyl can be a lethal dose. In some scenarios, individuals purchase what they think are Oxycodone, OxyContin, Percocet, or Xanax pills that are actually laced with fentanyl.
One such example occurred in the 33rd District. Tyler Shanafelter, 18, overdosed when he purchased what he thought was Percocet. Instead, those pills were laced with fentanyl. He tragically overdosed and lost his life.
Fentanyl is easier to produce and distribute than heroin, enhancing its appeal to dealers and traffickers. According to the Centers for Disease Control, there were over 100,000 fentanyl and opioid related deaths in 2021, a 15% increase from 2020. The epidemic only seems to be worsening here in Pennsylvania.
Under Pennsylvania’s current “drug delivery resulting in death” statute, defendants often cut deals for lenient sentencing and little to no jail time.
Under Tyler’s Law, an individual who sells or engages in a monetary transaction to distribute fentanyl resulting in a death would face a mandatory minimum 25-year sentence upon conviction. This mandatory minimum penalty would not apply to drug users who share drugs with friends or family members or those who seek medical help for individuals who overdose.
“I`m introducing Tyler’s Law to honor the legacy of Tyler Shanafelter, his family, and the other families in Pennsylvania who have lost loved ones to this horrible overdose epidemic. We must send a message to drug dealers that if you kill Pennsylvanians through the sale of fentanyl, you will be spending most of the rest of your life in prison.”
Senate Committee Passes Mastriano Bill to Fund the Police and Protect Neighborhoods
Harrisburg – The Senate Law and Justice Committee today unanimously passed legislation introduced by Senator Doug Mastriano (R-33) and Senator Devlin Robinson (R-37) to establish the “Law Enforcement Recovery Grant.” The grant program will assist agencies facing staff shortages and agencies in communities that have seen an uptick in violent crime and drug trafficking.
Senate Bill 1193 will allow municipal departments, county sheriffs, and the State Police to apply for a grant up to $2.5 million. Law enforcement agencies can use the grant money to fund strategies and incentives to attract new recruits and retain current officers, technology, equipment, and collaborative responses to violent crime and drug trafficking.
The PA Commission on Crime and Delinquency (PCCD) will administer the grant program and agencies must report how the grant money will be used. To ensure transparency, PCCD will be required to issue a report that includes the total number of agencies that applied for the grant program, total number of agencies that received a grant, and a summary of how each agency will use the grant money awarded.
“Pennsylvania currently has over 1,200 vacant police positions across the state,” said Mastriano. “This means less officers on the streets to prevent violent crimes, less resources for drug interdiction, and less opportunities for relationship building with members of the community. Compounding the issue of recruitment and retention is the rise in violent crime in Pennsylvania. Our commonwealth has had the third highest increase in violent crimes in the entire nation since 2019. To make matters worse, the proliferation of deadly drugs such as fentanyl continues to take lives. SB 1193 will ensure that agencies across the commonwealth have the resources needed to properly serve their communities and save lives.”
The bill will now advance to the full Senate for consideration.
Co-Sponsor Memo: Enhancing Classroom Security
After the recent tragedy in Uvalde, I will be introducing a bill to enhance the safety of our children while on school property.
I plan to introduce a bill that will allow school employees who possess a valid Pennsylvania concealed carry permit to be armed while on school property. An employee who wishes to carry a firearm on school property will also be required to complete a firearms course from a certified instructor with a signed certificate showing completion of a training and proficiency course for the firearm the employee intends to carry on school grounds.
Presently, 28 states make it clear in statute that teachers or school staff can be armed while on school property. Pennsylvania is not one of them.
Mass murderers are often attracted to “soft targets” where they know victims are not armed. According to the Crime Prevention Resource Center, there has not been a single mass shooting in a school where teachers and staff were clearly allowed to carry a firearm.