The GLOBALCON Expo will emphasize four critical areas of leading edge technology and related services:
- Energy Management, HVAC and Smart Building Systems
- Renewables, Alternative Energy and Onsite Generation
- Lighting Efficiency and Integrated Energy Solutions
- Plant and Facilities Management
GLOBALCON 2017, presented by the Association of Energy Engineers, is designed specifically to facilitate those seeking to expand their knowledge of fast-moving developments in the energy field, explore promising new technologies, compare energy supply options, and learn about innovative and cost-conscious project implementation strategies. Get a Free Expo exhibits only pass for a limited time here: GLOBALCON Expo
March 22-23, 2017
Pennsylvania Convention Center
Desire more specific assistance regarding CHP, Solar; renewable energy projects, energy law, or real estate law, contact attorney Jeffrey A. Franklin at Prince Law Offices, P.C.
PA Game Commission Preliminarily Approves The Use Of Semiautomatic Rifles and Shotguns While Hunting Big Game, Small Game and Furbearers
After the public hearings that occurred from January 29th through today, January 31, 2017, the Pennsylvania Game Commission announced:
The Pennsylvania Board of Game Commissioners today gave unanimous preliminary approval to regulatory changes that would permit the use of semiautomatic rifles and shotguns while hunting big game, small game and furbearers. A five-round magazine would be required for all semiautomatic hunting rifles, with the total ammunition capacity limited to six rounds, based on the preliminarily approved measure.
The measure also preliminarily approves the use of air rifles for small-game and furbearers.
Consistent with Firearm Owners Against Crime’s comments and evidentiary submissions to the PA Game Commissioners, the Board stated that
most of those who opposed cited concerns over compromised safety as their primary reason for opposition … [however after] a thorough review of hunter safety in states that allow semiautomatic rifles, including neighboring states and states that most resemble Pennsylvania in terms of hunter density…[t]he review uncovered no evidence the use of semiautomatic rifles has led to a decline in hunter safety in any state where they’re permitted for hunting.
Furthermore, the Board also reviewed the follow regulatory additions/changes:
Semiautomatic rifles in .22 caliber or less that propel single-projectile ammunition and semiautomatic shotguns 10 gauge or smaller propelling ammunition not larger than No. 4 lead – also No. 2 steel or No. 4 composition or alloy – would be legal firearms arms for small-game seasons under a regulation preliminarily approved by the Board of Game Commissioners.
Semiautomatic firearms that propel single-projectile ammunition also would be legal sporting arms for woodchucks and furbearers. There is no caliber restriction for woodchucks or furbearers.
For big game, semiautomatic centerfire rifles and shotguns would be legal sporting arms.
Full-metal-jacket ammunition would continue to be prohibited for deer, bear and elk hunting.
All semiautomatic firearms would be limited to six rounds’ ammunition capacity – magazines can hold no more than five rounds.
Semiautomatics would be legal in seasons in which modern firearms can be used to take deer, black bears, elk and fall turkeys.
Air-guns would be legal for small game in calibers from .177 to .22 that propel single-projectile pellets or bullets, under the regulatory changes preliminarily approved by the Board of Game Commissioners.
For woodchucks and furbearers, air-guns must be at least .22 caliber and propel a single-projectile pellet or bullet. BB ammunition is not authorized for small game, furbearers or woodchucks.
These proposals will be brought up again at the March meeting for a final vote.
Surreptitious Recording of GOP Meeting Violates Pennsylvania Wiretap Law – But It’s Just a Felony, Right???
To the surprise of many, The Washington Post reported that it obtained a recording of a closed-door meeting of GOP members that occurred on Thursday in the City of Philadelphia. The article even quotes statements made during the closed-door meeting, seemingly ignorant of Pennsylvania’s Wiretapping and Electronic Surveillance Control Act.
In Pennsylvania, it is illegal to intercept, endeavor to intercept, procure, disclose, endeavor to disclose, use, or endeavor to use an oral communication without that person’s consent. Specifically, 18 Pa.C.S. 5703 provides:
Except as otherwise provided in this chapter, a person is guilty of a felony of the third degree if he:
(1) intentionally intercepts, endeavors to intercept, or procures any other person to intercept or endeavor to intercept any wire, electronic or oral communication;
(2) intentionally discloses or endeavors to disclose to any other person the contents of any wire, electronic or oral communication, or evidence derived therefrom, knowing or having reason to know that the information was obtained through the interception of a wire, electronic or oral communication; or
(3) intentionally uses or endeavors to use the contents of any wire, electronic or oral communication, or evidence derived therefrom, knowing or having reason to know, that the information was obtained through the interception of a wire, electronic or oral communication.
While there exists exceptions for law enforcement and other non-applicable bases, the individual who recorded the meeting, anyone who solicited the person to record the meeting, and those individuals and entities which have disclosed and used the recording have clearly committed a felony of the 3rd degree, which permits the individual to be imprisoned for up to 7 years. Moreover, if the individual is a state official or employee, he/she is to be dismissed or removed from office.
Furthermore, there exists civil penalties, which include “actual damages, but not less than liquidated damages computed at the rate of $ 100 a day for each day of violation, or $ 1,000, whichever is higher;” “punitive damages” and “reasonable attorney’s fee and other litigation costs reasonably incurred.”
Accordingly, I am calling on Philadelphia District Attorney Seth Williams and PA Attorney General Josh Shapiro to open an investigation into these violation of our laws.
As our readers are aware, on December 16, 2016, the Commonwealth Court issued its decision in Firearm Owners Against Crime (FOAC), et al. v. Lower Merion Township, where it held that Lower Merion Township’s preclusion of firearms in township parks was unlawful.
On Friday, January 13, 2017, Lower Merion Township filed a Petition for Allowance of Appeal with the Pennsylvania Supreme Court, which was docketed at 36 MAL 2017. Thereafter, on Tuesday, January 17, 2017, the City of Philadelphia and City of Harrisburg filed amicus curiae briefs with the Court, asking it to grant Lower Merion Township’s request and overturn the Commonwealth Court’s decision. Later today, we will file our Answer in opposition to Lower Merion’s request.
Generally, once our Answer is filed, it will take the PA Supreme Court between 6 to 8 months, if not more, to decide whether to hear Lower Merion’s appeal and if it grants Lower Merion’s appeal, what legal issues it agrees to consider.
If your rights have been violated by an illegal firearm or ammunition ordinance or regulation promulgated by a state agency, county, municipality or township, contact us today to discuss YOUR rights and legal options.
Late last week, the Pennsylvania Supreme Court issued its decision in In re: Nancy White Vencil, 90 MAP 2015, which overturned the Pennsylvania Superior Court’s learned decision finding that a challenge, pursuant to 18 Pa.C.S. § 6111(g)(2), to the sufficiency of an involuntary commitment was to be de novo, supported by clear and convincing evidence, where the burden was, in essence, to rest with the Commonwealth.
Unfortunately, the PA Supreme Court vacated the decision as it concluded that the Superior Court erred since, in its opinion
the plain language of section 6111.1(g)(2) requires a court of common pleas to review only the sufficiency of the evidence to support the 302 commitment, limited to the information available to the physician at the time he or she made the decision to commit the individual, viewed in the light most favorable to the physician as the original decision-maker to determine whether his or her findings are supported by a preponderance of the evidence.
Although the Court acknowledged that “By legislative design, there is no judicial involvement in the decision to effectuate a 302 commitment and no right to appeal the physician’s decision” and therefore affords no due process (an issue which Mrs. Vencil apparently failed to raise (pdf pg. 18 (declaring “Vencil has not challenged the due process protections provided by Section 302 of the MHPA. Nor has she raised a due process argument in connection with her right to keep and bear arms under the United States and/or Pennsylvania Constitutions)), the Court declared that a trial court is only
to review the physician’s findings, made at the time of the commitment, to determine whether the evidence known by the physician at the time, as contained in the contemporaneously-created records, supports the conclusion that the individual required commitment under one (or more) of the specific, statutorily-defined circumstances.
Interestingly, the Court did not address the sufficiency/review of the requisite records for an involuntary commitment, pursuant to 50 P.S. § 7302 and the implementing regulations. This is likely due to this issue not having been raised and therefore was not considered by the Court.
The Court went on to declare that
The Legislature could have broadly created an appeals process under the MHPA for 302 commitments, but it did not; it could have required a de novo hearing but it did not. Instead, it narrowly provided that under 6111(g)(2) of the Uniform Firearms Act, a petitioner is entitled only to have a trial court review the sufficiency of the evidence upon which the commitment was based.
It is also important to note that the Court recognized in fn. 4 (pdf pg. 7) that the Pennsylvania State Police waived any consideration of the statute of limitations. The Court’s acknowledgment of is somewhat concerning as a specific of statute of limitations has not been enacted by the General Assembly and the Court did not specify what the appropriate statute of limitation is for sufficiency challenges to civil mental health commitments.
It is for these reasons, including the lack of requisite due process, that it is imperative that the General Assembly enact a new law regarding mental health commitment appeals, in compliance with all dictates of due process.