Lt. Gov. Austin Davis Applauds House Judiciary Committee for Advancing Legislation to Improve Commutations Process
November 13, 2023
HARRISBURG – Lt. Gov. Austin Davis applauded the state House Judiciary Committee for moving forward today with House Speaker Joanna McClinton’s constitutional amendment to update the commutations process and require a majority vote of the Board of Pardons to recommend an application to the governor in cases of life sentences.
“Pennsylvania should be a place for second chances, and we should have a system that represents that vision,” said Lt. Gov. Davis. “As chair of the Pennsylvania Board of Pardons, I take the responsibility of weighing each commutation application seriously, and I know my fellow board members do so, as well. This bill would improve the commutations process, empower each board member to vote their conscience and allow for meritorious applicants to have a greater opportunity for a second chance. I’m glad to see the House push this important legislation forward.”
House Bill 1410 now heads to the full House for consideration. The lieutenant governor joined Speaker McClinton, as well as advocates and returning citizens, at a Capitol news conference last month to endorse her legislation.
Last month, the Board of Pardons unanimously approved three applications for commutation.
As part of the Shapiro-Davis Administration’s commitment to making Pennsylvania a place for second chances, Lt. Gov. Davis is working to improve the clemency process in additional ways.
- In July, the Board of Pardons expanded its “expedited review” process for pardon applicants to make it more efficient, providing applicants with a clear and transparent process to follow.
- The state budget invests $355,000 into a dedicated clemency unit within the Department of Corrections to address the backlog of applications for pardons and commutations.
- In addition, Lt. Gov. Davis has championed legislation to streamline the process for pardoned Pennsylvanians to clear their records and realize a fresh start. This legislation advanced through the Senate Judiciary Committee with bipartisan support in September.