Marsy’s Law for Pennsylvania, which is aimed at providing equal rights to crime victims in Pennsylvania by ensuring constitutional protections, along with local victim service organizations announced today that Senator Lisa Baker has been presented the Guardian of Victims’ Rights Award.

The Guardian of Victims’ Rights Awards are presented to people who have served as advocates and ambassadors for crime victims across the state, working to ensure that they are treated with dignity and respect. Sen. Baker is one of the co-sponsors of Marsy’s Law legislation, which is seeking an amendment to ensure that the Pennsylvania Constitution enumerates rights for victims of crime.

"For a very long time, the concentration under our criminal justice system has been on ensuring the due process rights of the accused. In hurtful ways, the system has overlooked or disregarded the needs and concerns of victims," Sen. Baker said. "I have been privileged to work with victims on improving laws and practices in areas such as juvenile justice and protection against domestic violence."

"I was proud to join the effort to advance Marsy's Law, enshrining in the State Constitution provisions putting a better balance of these interests in place, and ensuring those harmed by criminals are not victimized twice," she added.

Although the state constitution enumerates rights for individuals accused and convicted of crimes, Pennsylvania is one of only nine states that does not afford the same protections to crime victims.

The award was presented on Monday, March 11, during a meeting with Marsy’s Law for Pennsylvania and the local Victim Resource Center.

Rep. Sheryl Delozier (R-Cumberland) recently introduced House Bill 276 for Marsy’s Law, and Sen. John Sabatina (D-Philadelphia) is sponsoring the bill in the Senate during this legislative session. For the state constitution to be amended, legislation must pass in two consecutive legislative sessions before being added to the ballot for voter approval. During the 2017-18 legislative session, Marsy’s Law passed unanimously in the state Senate and House.

With significant legislative support, Marsy’s Law is expected to pass both chambers by June, allowing for the measure to appear on the November 2019 ballot for consideration by Pennsylvania voters.