Harris disappointed, not discouraged, on lack of movement on probation reform legislation

HARRISBURG, Dec. 18 – State Rep. Jordan Harris, D-Phila., House Democratic whip, issued the following statement on H.B. 1555, bipartisan probation reform legislation introduced with state Rep. Sheryl Delozier, R-Cumberland, not receiving a vote before the House adjourned today:

“The great Reverend Martin Luther King Jr. once said, ‘we must accept finite disappointment, but never lose infinite hope.’ This week, we must accept the disappointment that House Bill 1555 did not receive a vote in the House, but also understand that the political process is continuing to work and we still plan to get this bill across the finish line in the House when we return in January.

“I’ve been in constant communication with advocates and leadership this week about getting House Bill 1555 to a place that we can all agree moves Pennsylvania forward, not backward, regarding probation reform. We haven’t come to a full agreement, but the resolve to find that agreement from leaders on both sides of the aisle hasn’t wavered.

“We must also keep in mind that it’s been years since Pennsylvania has seen meaningful probation reform. I’m thankful to be working toward that goal with my partner in reform Representative Delozier and appreciate her desire to reach a consensus.

“My goal remains the same as it has throughout this process: to get a bill out of the House that does what we intended when House Bill 1555 was first introduced. Though this week did not bring the finality we had hoped for in the House, I look forward to fighting to make our probation system more progressive, not regressive, and arriving at a place that saves the state money, reduces the strain on our probation system, and most importantly, lifts up the hundreds of thousands of Pennsylvanians currently on probation who are being held down and tripped up by a broken system desperately in need of reform.”