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District Office
70 Lancaster Avenue, Suite B 
Malvern, PA 19355
Phone:  610-251-1070
Fax:  610-251-1074
Hours: M-F, 9 a.m. - 5 p.m.
A free notary is available Monday through Thursday by appointment.

Capitol Office
Hon. Duane Milne
150-A East Wing
PO Box 202167
Harrisburg PA 17120-2167
Phone:  (717) 787-8579
Fax:  (717) 787-1295

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dmilne@pahousegop.com
 
Birds Fly into the Capital
As someone serving our nation as a military officer, and given my personal values, I do not care for the national anthem and the American flag getting tangled up as a tool in larger social protests. It seems to me that a starting point of leveraging American freedom to achieve liberty and justice for all is agreed-upon respect for certain fundamentals of the country, such as the national anthem and flag. From that starting point of shared values, then engage in dialogue and debate, playing as hard as one wants within the rules, about disagreements of the day.

That said, a foundational virtue of sustaining a vibrant democracy is being open to conversation with people of all points of view. The health of a democracy depends on civil acknowledgement that individuals of good minds and faith simply can hold sincerely-felt differences of opinion (as is natural at times in a free society); this is also how and where these same people also can recognize points of agreement.

Taking a page from the policy playbook, some Philadelphia Eagles recently visited the Harrisburg capital to advocate for certain issues, including strengthening police-community relations as well as “clean slate” legislation. In a classic case of “politics makes strange bedfellows,” the overall concept (contingent on details to be determined) has garnered some support from both strongly conservative and strongly liberal citizens and legislators.

Clean slate is a package of legislative proposals for changes in the criminal justice system to set certain conditions such that individuals with summary or misdemeanor convictions would have their records automatically sealed if no further legal infractions occur in the subsequent 5 (summary) or 10 (misdemeanor) years.

The “one-time second chance” for individuals would result in the record being generally sealed from disclosure to external entities (employers, landlords, financial institutions, to name a few). Law enforcement would continue to have access to the sealed information.

Expressions of support for the legislation typically include one or more reasons:
  1) Forgiveness so as not to impose a lifetime record on someone for an infraction of a non-violent nature and a one-time mistake (and persons prove such by living up to that standard moving forward);
  2) Fiscal conservatism in best use of the limited dollars and time of law enforcement and court personnel, a consideration made all the more urgent given the criminal justice system’s status as the fastest-growing part of the state budget in recent years; and
  3) Prioritization by the criminal justice and court systems to target their resources and efforts on the types of perpetrators who pose threats to public safety, by drawing clearer distinctions between violent and non-violent offenders and repeat versus one-time offenders.

I expect debate and votes on this issue after the new year, so please chime in with comments.